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Culture

Cultural Aspects of Iranian Life

Iran is a vast and historical country with a varied culture. By moving from north to the south or east to the west you can see and feel this diversity in every aspect of culture, like music, architecture, art, etc.

During history, Iran inspired other cultures and also has been inspired by neighboring countries. This is why Iranian culture became a dynamic one. The following are some brief descriptions of each aspect of this rich culture.

Festivals

There are several festive occasions. The most important one is the Nowruz celebration. The Persian New Year which is on the 21st of March. The main iconic tradition of Nowruz is a table with seven symbolic objects all begin with the character of “S” in Persian. This is why it is called the Haft-Sin Table; haft means seven in Persian.

7 sin - Nowruz
7 sin – Nowruz. by Mohamad Sagharidooz

The celebration continues until the 13th day of the new year. The 13th day is called Sizdeh- Be- Dar which somehow means “outdoor thirteen”. As it could be understood from its name, Sizdeh- Be- Dar is a family outdoor day; people go to nature for picnic and camping.

Architecture

Since Iran is a country of great antiquity, it’s architecture is wonderfully rich in variety. Some of its best examples are Takht-e Jamshid or Persepolis, historical buildings of Esfahan, Castle of Bam, Ziggurat of Chogha Zanbil, villages of Abyaneh and Masuleh (in Kashan and Gilan respectively) and many majestic mosques.

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Isfahan
Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Isfahan

Art

When it comes to arts, carpet weaving is the best example of Iranian arts. Each region has a special design and quality of carpet that bears its name, such as Kashan, Kerman, and Isfahan. The most widespread techniques for ornamentation are engraving, chiseling, gilding, damascening, encrustation and embossing, Potteries are also widely scattered throughout Iran.

Iranian Carpet
Iranian Carpet. by: Patrick Riemens

Literature

Plus to arts, Persian literature is another aspect of significant Iranian culture. Hafez, Sa’di, Khayyam, Rumi, and Ferdowsi are some of the very well-known Iranian poets. English readers know Khayyam especially through the translation of his Rubaiyat (quatrains) by Edward Fitz Gerald. Hafez is considered as the greatest name in Persian Lyric poems.

If you are dedicated to culture or simply love it, Iran, the land of One Thousand and One Nights and the heir of ancient Persia is a good destination.

Music

Iran is one of the main origins of music in the world. History of Persian classical music and its wonderful instruments goes back to the Sassanians period or maybe even further. Despite European classical music which is note-based, Persian music is based on the Dastgah system. It means there are some specific Dastgahs in Iranian music that are repetitive in all the musical pieces.

In addition to classical music, each region of Iran has its own folklore music. For example in Baluchistan, in the border of Pakistan, you can enjoy the Baluchi music which is inspired by Asian and Indian music. On the other hand, in the west of Iran, Kurdistan, Kurdish music mesmerizes any visitor.

Iranian Instrument
Iranian Instrument
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