Nowruz: Persian New Year Traditions
Nowruz is the biggest and oldest holiday celebrated in Iran. It takes a month of preparations and two (!) weeks of celebrations. So it might be a good idea to celebrate with Iranians. In this post, you will find out what Nowruz is and get familiar with Persian New Year traditions. Nowruz (Norooz) is as old as Iran itself. Somehow it is a symbol of Persian culture. The tradition of celebrating Nowruz unites Iranians from the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf. Nowruz means a new day. This is the day when a new year starts in Iran and corresponds with spring equinox which marks the start of spring.
Iranian Cinema: An Overview of Fajr Film Festival
Fajr Film Festival may not be a well-known film festival in the world, but it is definitely a significant event inside Iran. Interestingly, not only people from cinema industry, but ordinary people as well (mostly younger generation) try to attend as many film screenings as possible. Read up to the end to find out why. As in Iranian cinemas you can see only Iranian movies (well, with rare exception), and even Iranian TV channels show a very small percent of foreign movies, Iranian cinema industry has to fulfill these needs and produce a huge number of films, animated films and documentaries. I`ve come up with interesting statistics that will help you imagine the scale of…
Ashura in Iran: What to Do on Ashura in Tehran
Moharram is a month during which Iranians and other Shia Muslims commemorate the death of Imam Hossein. The mourning reaches its culmination at Ashura, the tenth day of Moharram. I have already written about Ashura in Iran and mourning ceremonies organized on this occasion here and here. During several years I`ve been living in Iran, I have attended quite a number of ceremonies in different parts of Tehran (there are still areas uncovered though). Some attract hundreds of people, while others are attended only by locals. However, many foreigners hesitate to go out on the day of Ashura which is the culmination of Moharram mourning ceremonies. Maybe, they are afraid of Iranians…
Tehran Events Guide: Christmas Edition
In Tehran Events Guide I`m introducing exhibitions, movies (in English, of course), concerts, festivals and other happenings that might interest you so that you won`t have to check multiple websites to decide where to go at the weekend! Tehran doesn`t have night life, but it doesn`t mean there is nothing to do here! So get ready to go out this weekend! If you are staying in Tehran for Christmas holidays, don`t think that your holidays will be ruined. Although Iranians mostly don`t celebrate Christmas, there are still some places where you can catch Christmas spirit! Just take a look at some of my recommendations in my last year`s post. Moreover,…
Yalda Night in Iran: 5-Step Guide to Celebrate the Longest Night of the Year
Watermelon, pomegranate and nuts are traditional Yalda night treats Source: hamgardi.com As you might know, December 21st is Winter Solstice which means it`s the longest night in the year. Not many of us would have even noticed! However, for Iranians whose calendar is deeply intertwined with the laws of nature, it`s a big holiday called Yalda Night. Yalda Night awakes nostalgic feelings in most Iranians who had seen a more traditional, thorough and more widely celebrated Yalda night at their grandparents` house with all relatives gathered around korsi (a traditional heating device, if I may call it so) sharing sweet memories of the past, reciting poems of Hafez…
Tehran Events Guide: Cinematheques in Tehran
Maybe it will be big news for some of you, but in Iranian cinemas you can watch ONLY Iranian movies. A couple of years ago a recently built shopping center Kourosh with 14 (!) cinema halls started showing some new Hollywood movies every now and then, but, unfortunately, it didn`t last long. Now foreign movie screenings are limited to cinematheques which have, however, become quite popular in Tehran. Their number is growing and there are more and more opportunities to watch a brand-new Hollywood movie or a good old European film. While some cinematheques show the retrospective of one director (like Museum of Contemporary Art) or relate their screenings to…
Ramadan In Iran: How Not To Starve!
Ramadan is almost over. People have adjusted to a new pace of life, waiting for its ending, though. But this year Ramadan is not as it was last year. Iranian society changes so fast that you can see little changes every year. Take a look at how things were here last year and it has changed. I remember meeting a friend from the UK who was travelling around Iran during Ramadan 2-3 years ago. After visiting a museum around lunchtime, I remember, driving around Tehran in search of food, and there was literally no place to get any decent food. Finally, we went to the first supermarket we could find and…
Guide to Events in Tehran: The International Tourism Fair
Tourism Fair is a very colorful event – there are lots of dancing, music, singing and other authentic stuff! If you happen to be in Tehran in February, make sure not to miss the International Tourism Fair which is usually held in February. It can be especially useful, if you are in the beginning of your trip, and let me explain why. One of the halls, and the most colorful one, I must say, is usually dedicated to Iranian provinces. And visiting it you can see the whole Iran at one glance and decide which parts seem more interesting to you. Less popular places can be found here a well.…
Feel Christmas Spirit in Tehran!
Christmas spirit is hardly seen here in Tehran. No snow on Christmas Eve, I believe, no Santa Clauses in the streets, no people hurrying up for buying their gifts. Although there are some places that will certainly cheer you up before Christmas holidays! Here are a couple of recommendations for you. St Mary Armenian Church on 30th Tir Street First, and the main one, Christian churches. That is what Christmas is, actually, about, right?) Most churches are being decorated for the holiday season and hold special services. There are Armenian, Orthodox, Catholic and so many other churches in Tehran, just choose yours! IMPORTANT! Most of churches (especially not Armenian) open…
Moharram. The Time for Mourning: The Day of Ashura
Mourning in moharram reaches its culmination on the 10thday of moharram which is known as Ashura. On this day since morning people either take part or just watch mourning processions in the streets of Tehran. The procession starts with boys carrying flags with writings about Imam Hossein. They are followed by “alams” which are the central part of the whole ceremony and draw all people`s attention. “Alam” is a huge and heavy metal thing covered with feathers, metal figures of birds, lions and deer, every element of which symbolizes something. Although “alam” is extremely heavy, it`s carried by only one person who wears a special belt to help him carry…