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Attan (Template:Lang-ps) is a form of dance that originated in the Pashtun regions of Afghanistan, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, Pakistan and north Balochistan. Attan began as a folk dance conducted by Afghans in the time of war or during wedding or other celebrations (engagement, new year and informal gatherings). It is now considered the national dance of Afghanistan.[1].

The performance of the attan dance in the open air has long been customary in the Afghan culture.[2] Attan is a special type of dance performed by a troupe of 50 to 100 dancers who wave red scarves in the air while musicians beat drums. This dance is common among the Pushtuns and the ruling elite promoted it as a national dance of Afghanistan.[3]


Attan is a traditional Afghan dance and has its origins from Pushtun areas. It is said to be one of the oldest forms of Afghan Pagan dance. Some identify Attan as a religious ceremony of early Zoroastrians placing it 2000 BCE, while others have placed even older going back to King Yama's celebration of Nowroz and warriors dancing and circling around the fire. This was later modified into an Islamic dance to allow the dancers to get "closer to God." This virtual Attan practised by many Afghan poets and mystics had even reached to corners of Turkey, known in Europe as the Rumi Dance. It is usually performed with a Dhol, which is a double-headed barrel drum. The dance can be anywhere from 5 minute to 30 minutes long. During King Yama's time, Attan was performed before going to a war because it used to give the army the confidence that they could win the battle.


There are many different regional and tribal variations of Attan:

  • Bangash
  • Tarakai
  • Herati
  • Kabuli/Peshawari Attan
  • Kandahari
  • Khattak
  • Kochai/Kochyano
  • Kumbhar
  • Logarai
  • Mazari
  • Nuristani
  • Paktiawal/Khostai/Paktiyaya
  • Pashayi
  • Quetta Style
  • Shenwari
  • Sistani
  • Warziro

How to dance AttanEdit

Attan is performed in different ways according to the style. Please see the individual styles above for details.



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