Festivals in Iran: A Complete Guide for Tourists

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ToIranTour - Festivals in Iran

Iran is a country steeped in history, culture, and tradition, with a vibrant calendar of celebrations and festivals throughout the year. Whether you’re looking for a taste of Iranian music, dance, or food, there is something for everyone to enjoy. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the most popular festivals in Iran and provide you with all the information you need to make the most of your visit to Iran.

Iranian Festivals

Iranian festivals are events that take place throughout the year to celebrate various aspects of Iranian culture and tradition. These events are typically marked by music, dance, food, and other cultural activities, and provide an opportunity for Iranians to come together and celebrate their heritage.

Celebrations and festivals are an important part of Iranian culture and tradition, providing an opportunity for Iranians to connect with their past and celebrate their shared identity. These events also serve as a way to strengthen community bonds and pass on cultural traditions to future generations.

ToIranTour - Nowruz
Photo by Fatane Rahimi on Unsplash

There are many Persian celebrations and festivals throughout the year, but some of the most famous festivals in Iran include:

Nowruz

Nowruz is the most important festival in Iran and marks the beginning of the Persian New Year. It is a celebration that has been observed for over 3,000 years and is still celebrated by Iranians all over the world.

Nowruz typically takes place on the spring equinox, around March 21st, and lasts for 13 days. The celebration includes various rituals and traditions, such as spring cleaning, visiting relatives and friends, and setting up a Haft Seen table.

The Haft Seen table is a central part of the Nowruz celebration. It is a table decorated with seven items that start with the letter “S” in Persian. These items include garlic, apples, wheat, vinegar, coins, sumac, and dried oleaster berries. Each item represents a different aspect of life, such as health, wealth, and fertility.

During Nowruz, Iranians also celebrate with food, music, and dance. One of the most popular dishes during the celebration is Sabzi Polo Mahi, which is rice cooked with fresh herbs and served with grilled fish. All in all, Nowruz is a wonderful time to visit Iran and experience Iranian culture and traditions.

Yalda Night

Yalda Night, also known as Shab-e Yalda, is a traditional Iranian celebration that takes place on the longest night of the year, which usually falls on December 20th or 21st. It is a celebration of the winter solstice and the triumph of light over darkness.

Yalda Night is a time for family and friends to gather together, enjoy each other’s company, and indulge in delicious food and drink. One of the most popular dishes during Yalda Night is the Fruits and Nuts platter, which typically includes watermelon, pomegranate, nuts, and dried fruits.

ToIranTour - Pomegranate for Yalda Night in Iran

Another tradition during Yalda Night is reading Hafez’s poems. Hafez is a famous Persian poet whose works are cherished by Iranians all over the world. It is believed that his poetry can reveal the future and provide guidance to those who seek it. Tomb of Hafez is also a very popular tourist attraction in Shiraz.

Yalda Night is also a time for storytelling and music. Iranians have a long tradition of storytelling, and during Yalda Night, elders would pass down stories and fables to younger generations. Music is also an important part of Yalda Night, with many Iranians gathering together to sing and play traditional instruments.

Chaharshanbe Suri

Chaharshanbe Suri is one of the other traditional and important festivals in Iran that takes place on the eve of the last Wednesday before the Persian New Year. It is a prelude to Nowruz and is celebrated with great enthusiasm and excitement.

The festival involves lighting bonfires in the streets and jumping over them, while chanting “zardi-ye man az toh, sorkhi-ye toh az man” which means “my yellow is yours, your red is mine”. This ritual symbolizes the burning away of negative energy and the start of a new year with positive energy and good luck.

Chaharshanbe Suri is also a time for people to gather with family and friends, enjoy traditional foods, and participate in other activities such as firework displays and dancing. The festival is an important part of Iranian culture and traditions, and it has been celebrated for thousands of years.

ToIranTour-Charshanbe Suri bonfire to celebrate the arrival of spring
Photo by Naval S on Flicker

Mehregan

Mehregan is one of the ancient Iranian festivals that celebrates friendship, love, and kindness. It takes place on the 196th day of the Iranian calendar, which usually falls on October 2nd or 3rd. Mehregan is also known as the Persian Festival of Autumn, and it is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy.

During Mehregan, Iranians gather with family and friends to enjoy traditional foods and participate in various activities, such as storytelling, dancing, and playing games. One of the most popular activities during Mehregan is the game of “shinteh” which involves throwing small stones or beans into a bowl or jar. This game is believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the new year.

Mehregan also has deep roots in Iranian mythology and ancient beliefs. It is believed that the festival is a celebration of the mythical king, Jamshid, who brought prosperity and happiness to his people. Some Iranians also believe that Mehregan marks the day when the god Mithra, the deity of friendship and covenant, was born.

Iranian Celebrations and Festivals for Tourists

While all Iran celebrations and festivals are worth experiencing, some are more tourist-friendly than others. Nowruz, Yalda Night, and Mehregan are all great options for tourists, as they are widely celebrated and offer a variety of cultural activities and traditions to experience.

What can tourists expect at festivals in Iran?

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Tourists can expect to experience a wide range of cultural activities and traditions at Iran celebrations and festivals. From music and dance to food and poetry, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Tourists can also expect to see traditional clothing, such as the Chador and the Dastmal Bafi, as well as handicrafts and other cultural artifacts.

How can tourists prepare for festivals in Iran?

Preparing for Iranian celebrations and festivals as a tourist requires some planning and research. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your trip:

Research the festival

Before traveling to Iran, research the festival you want to attend. Learn about the history, customs, and traditions associated with the festival, so you can fully appreciate and participate in the celebrations.

Dress appropriately

Iranians take dress codes seriously, especially during religious and cultural events. Make sure to dress modestly and respect the local customs. For women, this means wearing a headscarf and loose-fitting clothing that covers the arms and legs. Men should avoid wearing shorts or tank tops in public.

Book in advance

If you plan to attend a festival or celebration, it is essential to book your accommodations and tours in advance. Festivals in Iran attract many visitors, and hotels and tours can fill up quickly. Booking in advance will ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

Learn some Farsi phrases

Iranians appreciate visitors who make an effort to speak their language. Learning some basic Farsi phrases can help you communicate with locals and enhance your overall experience.

Respect local customs

Persian Festivals are deeply rooted in tradition and customs. It is important to respect these customs, even if they are different from what you are accustomed to. For example, during Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, and it is considered impolite to eat or drink in public during this time.

By following these tips, you can prepare for your trip to Iran and have a fantastic experience celebrating Iranian festivals and traditions. And remember, ToIranTour is always here to help you plan your trip and create a customized itinerary that suits your style of traveling and interests. Contact us today to learn more.

What should tourists wear for festivals in Iran?

Tourists attending Iranian celebrations and festivals should dress conservatively, covering their arms and legs. Women are also advised to wear a headscarf. It is also a good idea to wear comfortable shoes, as many celebrations and festivals involve a lot of walking and standing.

How should tourists behave at festivals in Iran?

Tourists should respect Iranian culture and customs when attending celebrations and festivals. This includes refraining from drinking alcohol, being mindful of physical contact with members of the opposite sex, and being respectful of religious traditions. It is also important to ask for permission before taking photographs of people or cultural artifacts.

Tips for Tourists Attending Festivals in Iran

ToIranTour - Attending Festivals in Iran
Photo by Omid Armin on Unsplash

Tourists attending Iranian celebrations and festivals should be aware of their surroundings and take precautions to ensure their safety. This includes avoiding large crowds and staying in well-lit areas. It is also a good idea to keep valuables out of sight and to travel with a group or guide. You should know that there is nothing special about Iran, these are the general safety tips you should always consider when traveling.

Why are festivals in Iran worth experiencing as a tourist?

Iranian celebrations and festivals offer a unique opportunity to experience the rich culture and traditions of Iran. As a tourist, attending these events provides a chance to connect with the local community and learn about Iranian history and heritage. It is also a great way to sample traditional food, music, and dance.

How can tourists make the most of their experience at festivals in Iran?

To make the most of their experience, tourists should be open to new experiences and willing to learn about Iranian culture and traditions. It is also a good idea to plan and research the specific celebration or festival they will be attending to better understand the cultural significance and traditions involved. Finally, tourists should be respectful and mindful of Iranian customs and traditions while attending celebrations and festivals.

FAQs about Festivals in Iran

Q1: What are the famous festivals in Iran?

A1: Some popular celebrations include Nowruz, the Kashan Rosewater Festival, and Yalda. These events have unique traditions and bring joy to people during special times like the Iranian New Year and festive gatherings.

Q2: What is the main festival in Iran?

A2: Nowruz, which means ‘new day’ in Persian, is the most important festival in Iran and is celebrated in various countries, including the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia, the Balkans, and East Africa. This ancient festival has a history spanning at least 3,000 years.

Q3: How do Iranians celebrate?

A3: Typically, it includes cleaning houses, giving help to those in need, and visiting family members.

Q4: What do Iranians do for fun?

A4: The country’s traditional sports include wrestling, horse racing, and ritualistic bodybuilding. Team sports from the West, such as rugby football, and volleyball, were introduced in the 20th century and have become quite popular.

Q5: How do Iranians treat guests?

A5: Iranians highly appreciate their guests and make an effort to welcome them warmly, offering the best food and drinks. It’s advisable to inform the host a few days in advance before visiting their home and to avoid unexpected visits.

Last Word: Experience the Best of Festivals in Iran with a Customized


Iran is a place with a lot of history, culture, and traditions. They have many celebrations and festivals all year round. Whether you like music, dance, or food, Iran has something for everyone. This guide will tell you about some of the most liked festivals in Iran and give you all the info you need for a great visit.

If you are a tourist who wants to experience the best of Iranian festivals and celebrations, it is highly recommended to travel to Iran on a customized and tailored tour. To Iran Tour is a professional tour operator that provides customized tours to Iran. We design our tours in a way that suits the preferences and interests of our clients.

We offer a wide range of tours that cover Iranian festivals and celebrations, such as Nowruz, Yalda Night, and Chaharshanbe Suri. We also provide tours that include visits to historical sites, museums, and traditional bazaars, where tourists can learn about Iranian history and heritage. Contact us today to learn more about our tours and start planning your trip to Iran!

Immerse Yourself in the Rich History and Culture of Iran

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