To sum up Afghanistan as a travel destination, many would attribute numerous terms and adjectives that differs from one another for sure. But one will find some phrases common in all reviews, thats- unusual, unlikely and different.
A historic land with stories to tell and events to share that changed the course of the lives of the people living in the Indian subcontinent, Afghanistan apparently comes out as a land of ruins and remnants from the past. But the spell that these historic remains cast is no less enchanting than those exerted by the classic architecture of Vienna or Italy. The taste might differ, but the magic is same!
Like all other ancient civilizations, Afghanistan also is home to a series of festivals that spans across the national calender. The people of this spell bounding land celebrates them with joy, enthusiasm and fervour.
Al l the festivals of Afghanistan can be segregated under three broad heads- Traditional, National and Religious. Let's throw some light on them to help you sort out which one to choose for your vacation:
Ashura: To put it precisely, it is the 10th day of the Islamic month of Muharram when the Shi’a Muslims remember Husayn bin Ali, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad who sacrificed his life for the community. The followers believe him to be the worthy successor of the prophet.
Nau Roz: This is the new years festival for the Afghans and is claimed to be the largest festival of the country as it is celebrated in all parts. It usually falls between January to March depending upon the Islamic calender. Though it is a national festival, the Mazar e Sharif marks its wholesome celebration with a 10 day gala. Known otherwise as Gul e Sorkh, this annual festival is a traditional fiesta where the artists and farmers are awarded for their achievements in respective fields. Cultural shows and dance performances are held in the evening and everyone present enjoys a great time. The famous Buzkashi games are the highlight of this celebrations.
Mawleed al Nabi: Being the birthday of the prophet Muhammad, this festival carries lot of religious and spiritual significance. It is observed in the 12th day of the month of Rabi al Awal of the Islamic calendar (March- May). This day is marked by the visits to the religious centers and offering of prayers.
Jesham: The Independence day for Afghanistan from the British rulers is known as Jesham. Celebrated on 19th August, this festival symbolize the spirit of freedom.
Ramadan: The holy month of Ramadan falls in between September-November (depending on the Islamic calender). During this month, the Muslims fast the entire day and indulges into several religious activities.
Eid al Fitr: This festival is celebrated to mark the end of the Ramadan month (October-December, Variable based on the Islamic calendar). After a month long austerity, the people celebrates this festival with myriad food items, gifts and social occasions.
Eid al Adha: Essentially a festival of sacrifice, Eid al Adha marks the devotion of Prophet Abraham who willingly sacrificed his son Ismael for the God. During the celebrations, animals like goats and lambs are sacrificed and distributed to the poor there after. With Eid al Adha, The Hajj begins when millions of Muslim head to Mecca.
Apple Blossom Festival: This is a regional festival of the Chak e Wardak District in Wardak Province to mark the advent of spring season on 23th April every year. It is a fun festival that includes musical events and picnics.
Mushaira: Also known as Orange Blossom Festival, the Mushaira is observed in 13th April in Jalalabad. It is observed with joy and gaiety.
When you visit Afghanistan during any of the major festivals, you will get to witness several unseen and unheard aspects of this mystic land. So, are you ready to roll in?