Jeshen, which is Independence Day in Afghanistan, is celebrated on 19 August. The day celebrates the signing of the Treaty of Rawalpindi in 1919 which restored complete sovereignty to Afghanistan.
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Afghanistan was never a British colony. However, the two countries fought three Anglo-Afghan Wars and, when the British won the second war in 1880, they were given control of Afghanistan’s foreign policy.
After the Treaty of Rawalpindi in 1919, the international boundary between Afghanistan and Pakistan was re-established which led Britain to abandon claims to Afghanistan. This allowed the country to declare complete independence, which is why Afghanistan celebrates the date today.
Celebrations and Traditions
Jeshen is celebrated with great enthusiasm throughout Afghanistan. It is a national holiday which means public offices, schools, banks and many businesses are closed. There is a presidential address to the nation as well as a military parade.
Many citizens wear native costumes and there are festivals with traditional dances throughout the country. Afghani citizens celebrate with traditional foods, drinks and music that represents their culture.
On Independence Day, many Afghan citizens visit art galleries or attend poetry readings in order to recognise the culture of their country. During the decades of Civil War, many people were forbidden from celebrating cultural activities. As a demonstration of freedom, many now turn to those cultural events in an effort to bring more attention to them.