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September 19, 2018
The Kabul Times

Rifle dancing & local Qarsak; Panjshir people’s popular tradition

There is a local dance common among Panjshir people called “rifle dance” which is accompanied by clapping of hands and air shooting. Few people stand in a circle, play tambourine and instigate and enrapture others. The participants of the circle shoot respectively.
In a conversation with The Kabul Times reporter, Qadruddin a local from Panjshir said, as you witnessed rifle dancing has been common in this province since hundreds years and people of Panjshir have inherited this tradition from their ancestors. Rifle dancing usually takes place during wedding parties. But in the past eras, when people returned home from a war and battlefield unharmed and safely, they organized rifle dancing together with clapping of hands and air shooting. Then this tradition was extended into wedding parties, Eid, Barat and other pleasant days as people enjoy it and it has hundreds visitors.
He added, only those who use rifle shooting skillfully, can play it. The mouth of the rifle must be up warded toward the sky as it neither damages themselves nor others.
Talking on Pakhtaband, he said, during rifle dancing, they use Pakhtaband instead of cartridge. Put gunpowder inside cotton and use it as ammunition which only produces sound and smoke, but in a radius of one meter, it could be dangerous. Another local dancing is common among Panjshir people which is called Qarsak. This dance is performed together with singing and clapping hands. Qadruddin said, few people sit like a circle, clapping hands, sing song, play circle or tambourine and enrapture others to take part respectively. Qarsak has got particular reputation and popularity among people during wedding parties.
Temor Shah a participant of Mulberry festival said, I had not seen rifle dance of Panjshir province before and had no knowledge about it, but I had seen Qarsak in wedding parties and saw rifle dancing for the frist time. I had feared from shootings but later learnt about it on TV programs in which maximum 12 people took parts.
But this Qarsak with the participation of large crowd of people was really spectacular.
Beside Qarsak and Rifle dancing in Panjshir, there are other traditions common in other provinces including Atan Khonok, fencing, knife playing, shovel playing in different parts of Afghanistan which are common during traditional festivals.

Karima Malikzada

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