Nowroz, New Year in Afghanistan

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Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year - the Nowruz festival is traditionally celebrated over a two-week period.

Preparations for the big day usually start after Chaharshanbe-Suri, the last Tuesday night of the year.

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This is a great time for Afghan families to gather together and celebrate different rituals, including dancing, having picnics in different places, eating traditional Afghan dishes.

Afghans participate in the national dance of Afghanistan known as the atan, the dance itself is hundreds of years old as is the melody passed on from generation to generation.

Its origins lies in the Afghan Pashtoon tribes with a dhol drum, tablas and zurla or toola flutes.

The dance is performed in a circular motion luring non-participants to join the circle and to dance in the provincial style as each province in Afghanistan has their own unique style of Afghan attan dance.

The different kinds of dance are the; Logari, Kabuli, Wardaki, Herati and Nuristani to name a few.

The dance finishes when there is not one man or woman left on the dance floor and it is not unusual for some dancers to faint in the festive melee as the rhythm starts off slowly but ends with a fast frantic beat testing the dance stamina to be true attan dancers.

Nowruz is a day to celebrate with the entire family especially for the children, these children ride Ferris wheels participate in kite running competitions and spend the day at the park.