A lot of attan songs are patriotic. They’re help us to get in touch with our roots when we’re away from our country. My mother said, “When I was in Afghanistan, I didn’t even like attan.” But now she does. It’s in a circular formation, so you forget about where you’re from really. It’s about embodying the moment. No matter what, people have respect for it. It’s a dance of warriors and pride for the country. It usually happens at the end of a party. At weddings, both families will get to dance it and share music and poetry. It’s like human nature. Attan songs are usually in Pashto. Second, I think it’s interesting the difference between the performed attan and the one that we do with everyone dancing. The attan can be an exception for hijabis [when danced in a community setting], whereas a hijabi would never perform. Like birds, they [the dancers] make a formation. It brings peace, because it takes out the politics and economics. I think there’s even more appreciation for music and dance because it went away for a while. During the Taliban, even though it was banned, people would still listen to music and would dance secretly in private. Really, music keeps your mind at peace and helps your brain get in the mood for it. It brings emotions and memories. Mostly everyone dances it. Depending on where you dance the Attan, you might wear different clothes. I have my own special dress that I wear to dance it.
Location: Falls Church, Virginia, USA
STORY ID: 00008