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Sat 16 December 2017

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  • Traditional costumes

Cotton and wool are the main material used in Afghanistan.The men wear a thigh-length, long-sleeved shirt which is belted at the waist with a skirt effect to the lower half. A sleeveless waistcoat is worn over the shirt and there are loose fitting white trousers. Another form of dress is the long-sleeved, ankle-length 'chupan'. This is a long coat made in wool, often white in color and worn by the mountain people in the winter season. The chupan is worn over loosely fitting jackets and trousers, or is wrapped round the body like a cloak.

Women wear the Chadri, which covers a woman from head to foot, with a latticed slit for the eyes, is made of cotton in shades of blue, brown, black. In the rural parts, women working on the land dispense with this, but cover their faces in the presence of a stranger. The women near Pakistan's border wear long, full trousers, often red in color, with a loose, long-sleeved tunic dress, rather like the kameez, together with a draped head scarf. This is the basis of many of the women's costumes and the tunic varies in length and design. In the northern areas striped material is used, often dyed red from madder or in shades of blue and brown. Loose sleeveless, hip-length jackets are worn in full-length striped coat for warmth. A white head scarf signifies the married status.

In the winter, thick woolen, hand-knitted stockings are worn with leather boots. Children and adults wear sandals or a form of boot as protection against the rough mountainous ground or earth. The hide comes from the Yak, which is found throughout the highlands of central Asia. In the cities, the open toe sandals is very common and sometimes shoes with up-pointed toes are seen.

  • Afghan cooking

Books: Afghan Food & Cookery , Afghan Bookshop Bestseller, written by
            Helen Djan, Najiba Zaka, Shaima Breshna.

Example of dishes: Afghani lamb with spinach (serves 4-6)

2 1/2 pound Lamb stew meat
1/3 cup Olive oil
3/4 pound Onions; diced large
4 Teaspoons Chopped garlic
2 Teaspoons of Turmeric
1/4 Teaspoons of Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoons of Ground cardamom
1 Teaspoons of Crushed red pepper
1/2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon
32 oz Can tomatoes; drain & chop
1 cup Rich brown veal stock or
1 cup Rich beef stock
1/3 pound Fresh spinach; wash & drain
1/2 cup Yogurt
1 tablespoons of Grated lemon peel Salt; to taste
1/4 cup Pine nuts (Roasted at 350 F. for about 3.5 minutes)

Sear lamb in the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onions and the garlic saute them for 4 minutes. Put in the turmeric, nutmeg, cardamom, crushed red pepper and cinnamon and saute the mixture for 1 to 2 minutes more, being careful not to burn the onions or garlic. Add the tomatoes and veal stock and stir. Cover the dish and bake at 350 F. For about 1 hour, until the meat is tender and begins to break up. Remove the dish from the oven and add the spinach, stirring until the spinach is wilted and blended in. Allow the stew to cool slightly. Add the yogurt, lemon peel and salt to taste. Sprinkle with roasted pine nuts. Serve over rice pilaf.
If you want to know more about cooking, click here.
Thanks to Afghan network.

  • Poetry

Oh my idol! A cloud from paradise

"Oh my idol! A cloud from Paradise
Has bestowed an emerald gown on the earth.
Deserts are like blood-stained silk
And the sky has the fragrance of musk.
With a mixture of musk and red wine
An artist has drawn an image of my love on the desert.
The world has become peaceful
For both the tiger and the deer.
For such occasions. we need a sun-faced idol,
And a moon. leaning on a cushion of sun.
We must have an idol with cheeks like rubies,
And red wine to match the cheeks.
The world has become a peacock,
With roughness here and smoothness here.
Mud smells of roses,
As though kneaded with rose water."

Daqiqi of Balkh (Dari poet)


Love of a Nation


By blood, we are immersed in love of you.
The youth lose their heads for your sake.
I come to you and my heart finds rest.
Away from you, grief clings to my heart like a snake.
I forget the throne of Delhi
when I remember the mountain tops of my Afghan land.
If I must choose between the world and you,
I shall not hesitate to claim your barren deserts as my own.



Ahmad Shah Durrani (Pashto poet)



  • Afghan Sport

Bozkushi is a game that dates itself into Afghan antiquity. The name bozkushi, literally translated means "goat killing" suggest it was derived from hunting mountain goats by champions on horseback. Today the rider (or team) who is able to pitch a dead calf across a goal line first wins. The game may last as long as a week and is as free-wheeling as the Afghan spirit.

Bozkushi horses require special training in order to be successful in the game. Should the rider be thrown or dismount, the horse waits. A trained horse will gallop with terrific speed as soon as the horseman snatches the areas of a calf in order to gain an edge in the game. The horses are said to enjoy the game as much as the riders. The price of trained horses range Afs. 20,000 and Afs. 100,000 in pre-jihad Afghanis. If one was to pay in a more valuable international currency, they could be had today for between $700.00 and $2,500.00.

Bozkushi horses are fed oats at regular intervals. A few days prior to bozkushi, the trainer keeps the horse hungry for part of the day and rides it daily a fairly long distance. This is meant to soften the horse and make it slightly lean to avoid busting when under excessive strains.

Horsemen call their animals after their natural color. For instance, a grey horse is called "t'Aragh"; an ash blond horse is referred to as "samand"; a red horse as "jayran"; and a white one as "qezel" or "boze". Bozkushi horsemen wear thick hats, quilted dresses, long boots and wind strong scarves around their waists.

  • Afghan jokes : Mullah Nasruddin

Needs :
As Nasruddin Hodja emerged form the mosque after prayers, a beggar sitting on the street solicited alms. The following conversation followed:
- Are you extravagant? asked Hodja.
- Yes Hodja. replied the beggar.
- Do you like sitting around drinking coffee and smoking? asked Hodja.
- Yes. replied the beggar.
- I suppose you like to go to the baths everyday? asked Hodja.
- Yes. replied the beggar.
- ...And maybe amuse yourself, even, by drinking with friends? asked Hodja.
- Yes I like all those things. replied the beggar.
- Tut, tut, said Hodja, and gave him a gold piece.
A few yards farther on. another beggar who had overheard the conversation begged for alms also.
- Are you extravagant? asked Hodja.
- No, Hodja replied second beggar.
- Do you like sitting around drinking coffee and smoking? asked Hodja.
- No. replied second beggar.
- I suppose you like to go to the baths everyday? asked Hodja.
- No. replied second beggar.
- ...And maybe amuse yourself, even, by drinking with friends? asked Hodja.
- No, I want to only live meagerly and to pray. replied second beggar.
Whereupon the Hodja gave him a small copper coin.
- But why, wailed second beggar, do you give me, an economical and pious man, a penny, when you give that extravagant fellow a sovereign?
- Ah my friend, replied Hodja, his needs are greater than yours.

When you face things alone:
You may have lost your donkey, Nasruddin, but you don't have to grieve over it more than you did about your first wife.

- Ah, but if your remember, when i lost my wife, all you villagers said :"We will find you someone else so far, nobody has proffered to replace my donkey."



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