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.
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…
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…
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…
Moharram. The time for mourning: Food
Food is an inseparable part of any Iranian holiday, festival or even the day of mourning! And moharram is no exception. During the first ten days of moharram after the evening prayer (i.e. after sunset) in the streets of Tehran you can see numerous tents where you can get tea with sugar, dates or sweets absolutely for free. Some people, who are patient enough, visit so-called “heyats” where a mullah tells the story of Ashura and then the attendees get free food. When a family gets into trouble, for example, a child gets sick badly, the family prays and promises to God that if the child gets well,…
Moharram. It`s time for mourning!
The month of moharram has come. A month of mourning for the third Shia Imam Hossein and his family cruelly killed in Karbala on the day of Ashura. I won`t go into details about his life and this particular event. I`d rather tell you how Tehran (and I`d say the whole Iran) changes when the holy month of moharram comes. Streets of Tehran which are always full of people wearing black clothes, but during moharram (and especially first 10 days that precede the day of Ashura) their amount doubles. Most of them are religious young men, small businesses` owners, shopkeepers who`d like to share their grief and feel themselves…