Afghanistan is one of those countries that the majority of people have a wrong view of. The image of an unsafe country with constant conflicts decreases its popularity among travelers because they do not want to put themselves in danger. In fact, Afghanistan is the country with a unique culture that focuses on hospitality. Even the poorest families offer their guests the best food they have and treat them with respect. The hosts refill the visitors’ plates and cups once they are emptied. If one happens to receive an invitation for tea or dinner while in Afghanistan, he/she shouldn’t hesitate to agree. In order to thank the hosts, one can bring a small gift that is regarded as a means of making relationships stronger.
The information we are going to share with our readers today will definitely dispel a couple of myths about Afghanistan and help you learn something new about the country. Here are the facts we’ve managed to gather…
Afghanistan: 8 interesting facts about the country that has a national sport game
1. The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has a game that is many centuries old
The game we’re talking about is called “Buzkashi”. The main aim of the game is to catch a goat while riding a horse, which is harder than it seems. This game, that is played in teams can be called one of the traditions, that was passed to younger generations from their ancestors. In fact, the popularity of the game among people of different age turned it into a national sports game.
2. The country has only one Jewish citizen
Believe it or not, but Afghanistan once served home to as many as 40,000 Jews. An interesting fact about Afghanistan is that today, Zablon Simintow is the only Jewish native living in the country. He declines each of the offers to leave and continues to take care of the only synagogue based in Kabul.
3. The country’s most popular holiday is New Year
A fun fact about Afghanistan is that its New Year is completely different from the European one. The celebration called “Nowruz” takes place on the 21st of March and is linked with Islamic traditions. Every year, thousands of travelers gather at the well-known Blue Mosque in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif to celebrate and welcome the new year.
4. Afghanistan has two official languages
Dari is the first official language of the country that has been used in discussions relating to government and is spoken during business negotiations. Pashto is the second official language that gained its status during the reign of Zahir Shah.
Statistics show that Dari is more popular among natives than Pashto because this language is spoken only by 35% of the population.
5. Afghans place a big value on family and its role in life
The family has the most important role in the life of Afghans. The responsibilities within families living in rural areas are different from the responsibilities within families living in urban cities. According to traditions, men are responsible for providing money while women should take care of the home and their families. Truth be told, this tradition is often not followed in the realities of urban cities the women living in which earn money by themselves.
It’s common for newly-weds to continue living under the same roof with either the bride’s or the groom’s family, an interesting Afghanistan fact. If they want to live separately and have enough money to buy a place to live in, they are free to move out. This is encouraged but never forced.
6. The traditional wedding ceremonies of the country last for three days
Since Afghans consider marriage to be a very important step in life, divorces are disapproved of and very rare. Even though polygamy lifestyle is acceptable, the monogamy lifestyle is more popular among the population. Marriages that involve ceremonies lasting for 3 days can be consummated between cousins. In case a groom doesn’t have enough money to cover all the wedding expenses (bride’s jewelry and clothes as well as other things), he agrees to live with the bride’s family to pay off the debt.
7. Afghan bride hammers a nail on the doorway of the groom’s house
Once a wedding party is over, the bride is taken to the house of her husband. Upon entering the house that is her new home from now on, she should hit her nail on the doorway. The tradition is believed to make the bond between the bride and her new family stronger.
8. The natives shake hands in order to greet each other
While handshake is the most common way of greeting, some people prefer showing their respect to the person they met by placing their hand on the heart and nodding slightly. It’s worth mentioning here that women and men are forbidden to shake hands with each other, a fun Afghanistan fact.
Afghanistan is developing, with the number of businessmen coming to the country increasing. However, the country doesn’t have all the business rules that are common in the majority of other countries. Native Afghan businessmen do not have and do not exchange business cards. Business cards in Afghanistan are still regarded as something “extraordinary” that provides their owners with a higher status. In case one receives a business cards, it’s recommended to study it for several moments and say something about it in order to show respect for its owner. If you’re planning to go to Afghanistan on business, don’t forget that. Also do not put the business cards you may receive in a pocket and do not take them with your left hand.
We hope that the information provided above about Afghanistan facts sparked your interest in the life of this country and helped you to learn a bit more about its culture. If you are interested, visit the Country Facts Page!