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Attan in Government College University, Lahore
Attan originated as a traditional dance from the Pashtun tribes, who were primarily populated in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They descended and reigned there as the dominant Ethnolinguistic group for about 300 years. Hence, Attan, their original folk dance, was considered a very important form of art by the Afghans and they started to perform it during wars, rituals, and celebrations. However, it further got modified into a Muslim dance of the soldiers, as it presumably allowed the dancers to get closer to ‘God’ before they advanced on their missions. In addition to the traces of this origin, there is also a Greek myth associated with Attan. According to the Greeks, Athena was born out of Zeus’s head with a sword in one hand and a shield in the other. The ancient Greeks admired her as the goddess of both war and intellect and to celebrate and worship her, the Athenians would perform the Pyrrhic dance. During that time, Alexander the Great had conflicts with the Persians, and in every city he conquered, he supplanted his Greek men to govern the local population. Few of these Greek soldiers came in close contact with some local Pashtun tribes. Claims of this Greek ancestry are the Khattak tribe and the Ghilzai tribe. Hence, the Greeks believe that Attan is originated from the Greek Pyrrhic dance as the Khattak style is its closest version.