Hazara culture refers to the culture of the Hazara people, who live primarily in and around the city of Quetta, that is located in southwest of Baluchistan province of Pakistan. The culture of the Hazara people is rich in heritage, with many unique customs and traditions, and shares influences with Persian, Mongol and various Central Asian cultures. The Hazara people make upto 900,000 of the population of Pakistan.
|In Urdu:||ہزارہ کلچر|
|Languages:||Pashtu, Baluchi and Khorasani Persian|
|Dress (Men):||Hazara men wear knee length, cotton shirts hanging over matching baggy trousers, embroidered skullcaps, and turbans|
|Dress (Women):||Women wear similar clothing, except that they use brightly colored shawls to cover their heads.|
|Crafts and Hobbies:||Hazaras produce handmade coats, overcoats, sweaters, jackets, shoes, hats, gloves, and scarves|
|Sports:||Buzkashi, Hunting, Wrestling and horse racing|
|Marriages:||Hazara marriage ceremonies follow the traditional Islamic pattern.|
|Family Life:||It is customary for extended families to live together in one house, including grandparents|
The origins of the Hazara are disputed, though there are three primary theories. The Hazara could be of Turko-Mongol ancestry, descendants of an occupying army left in Afghanistan by Genghis Khan. A second theory goes back two millennia to the Kushan Dynasty, when Bamiyan in Afghanistan – home to the large statues blown up by the Taliban – was a centre of Buddhist civilisation. The most widely-accepted theory is something of a compromise: that the Hazara are mixed-race. Certain Mongol tribes did travel to eastern Persia and what is modern-day Afghanistan, putting down roots and integrating with the indigenous community. Among the Hazara in Quetta are tens of thousands of new migrants escaping the wrath of the Taliban. Persecution of Hazaras persists in Afghanistan, where the Taliban have shown no let-up in their attack on Shias, burning villages and kidnapping community members, forcing further emigration into Pakistan.
Most of the Hazaras are concentrated in the mountainous central region of Afghanistan. The area that serves as their homeland is known as Hazarajat. Hazaras are also found scattered in other areas of the country in smaller numbers. There is also a Hazara population in Baluchistan, Pakistan. The exact number of Hazaras is not known because there has never been a complete national census taken in Afghanistan. Estimates of the Hazara population range from about 1.5 million to 4.3 million people (or 7 to 20 percent of the total Afghani population).
Traditionally the Hazara spoke (and many in rural areas still speak) Hazargi, many are now switching to other Persian dialects, such as the standard literary Persian or regional varieties of Persian (for example, the Khorāsānī dialect in the western region of Herat); see the map below. Still, the number of people still speaking Hazargi is reported to be over 1.7 million people. It is still debated whether Hazargi should be considered a separate language or a dialect of Persian (Farsi). One way or another it is a member of the Iranian (Indo-Iranian) branch of the Indo-European family and is closely related to Dari (itself considered either a dialect of Persian or a separate language; it is an official language of Afghanistan). Hazargi has a significant number of Turkic and some Mongolian loanwords, in particular, Hazaragi in the Daykundi regions has a significant admixture of Altaic influence in the language. Until recently, a very small number of Hazaras near Herat still spoke the Moghol language, a dialect of the Mongol language and once spoken by the army of Genghis Khan. It is near extinction by now, with only about 200 people in two villages still speaking it (mostly older adults at that).
Literacy level among the Hazara community in Pakistan is relatively high and they have integrated well into the social dynamics of the local society. Saira Batool, a Hazara woman, was one of the first female pilots in Pakistan Air Force. Other notable Hazara include Qazi Mohammad Esa, General Muhammad Musa, who served as Commander in Chief of the Pakistani Army from 1958 to 1968, Air Marshal(r) Sharbat Ali Changezi, Hussain Ali Yousafi, the slain chairman of the Hazara Democratic Party, Syed Nasir Ali Shah, MNA from Quetta. Agha Abbas and his son Agha Ghulam Ali, owners of Agha Juice, a famous fruit juice outlet in the country since 1960. The political representation of the community is served by Hazara Democratic Party, a secular liberal democratic party, headed by Abdul Khaliq Hazara.
Hazaragi cuisine refers to the food and cuisine of the Hazara people in central Afghanistan and western Pakistan (Balochistan province). The food of the Hazara people is strongly influenced by Central Asian, Persian and South Asian cuisines and shares similarities with neighboring regional cuisines in Afghanistan and Central Asia. However, there are certain dishes, culinary methods and styles of cooking that are unique to the Hazara people. The Hazara people have a hospitable dining etiquette. In Hazaragi culture, it is customary to prepare special food for guests, and to honor them with the best seats during meal times. Most Hazaras eat food with their hands, as opposed to using cutlery and dining utensils such as forks, knives or spoons.The diet of the Hazara people is largely based on the intake of high-protein foods such as meats and dairy products. They use large amounts of oil in their cooking. A typical Hazara meal/dining course normally consists of cooking one type of food or dish, rather than a wide selection. However, in large formal gatherings or during the presence of guests, a variety of foods may be cooked in the household.
The most common clothing among the Hazaras is perahan-u-tunban, a type of clothing that resembles pajamas. Men wear turbans, vests, overcoats, and sweaters over their perahan-u-tunbans. Their clothing is usually made from wool or cotton. Unlike the men, who wear plain-colored clothes, the women usually wear clothes with bright colors and designs. Women usually wear lighter-weight clothes because they remain indoors more of the time. Hazaras do not own large amounts of clothing.
Hazara marriage ceremonies follow the traditional Islamic pattern. Most marry within their own communities and nearly always within the Hazara ethnic group. Marriages between first cousins are preferred, particularly from the father’s side of the family. When a girl reaches about fifteen years of age, she is usually married to the man of her parents’ choice.