alibabatrek What Is It Like To Travel Iran During Ramadan iran blog -Iran-Tour Iran tour Ramezan,

What Is It Like To Travel Iran During Ramadan?

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Regular Tablecloth in Ramadan

Right timing is one of the most critical factors in traveling. Iran has special events at different times of the year as well as any other country. These events may affect the quality of Iran travel tours. Like other Muslim countries, Iran celebrates Ramadan; a holy month for the Muslims. In 2019 Ramadan begins on the 5th of May and ends by the 4th of June. Due to its different rules and regulations, we think it’s a good idea to gain more information about Ramadan. So, here is some information about what Muslims do in Ramadan and how it will be like in Iran. Also, you can find some tips about how it is better to act during Ramadan.

What Do Muslims Do During Ramadan?

During Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, Muslims fast. It means they will not drink, eat or smoke cigarettes from the sunrise till the sunset. Fasting is an obligation for the Muslims who have physical ability for doing it. So, pregnant women or others with physical issues should not fast during Ramadan like others. Also, fasting is not obligatory when you are traveling. Not eating or drinking during the day, helps the Muslims empathize with the poor. It also helps them be more thankful for the blessings they have. All of the above makes Ramadan different from other months of the day.

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An old couple breaking their fast

The Muslims break their fast after sunset. The name of the meal for breaking the fast in “Iftar.” Iftar usually includes tea, cheese, and bread. It is fine to eat, drink and smoke in public during the night.

What Are The Etiquettes During Ramadan?

It is essential for visitors to adhere to the rules of the place they are visiting. However, the rules or the behaviors that others expect you to do is different during Ramadan in Iran.

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An Iftar ceremony

It is forbidden to eat, drink or smoke cigarettes during the day in public places. This rule is for respecting the ones who fast. Of course, having food, water or smoking will be fine when you are in a private place. Or, if no one else can see that you are eating. The important thing is it shouldn’t be “obvious” for the others that you are doing any of those acts.

Are The Restaurants Available During Ramadan?

Many tourists worry about having access to food during the day in Ramadan. Many of the restaurants are not open during the day in Ramadan. But, they almost always have takeaway foods or cold sandwiches. Also, the restaurants of the hotels are always open during Ramadan for their guests. And, you can always find food in the supermarkets. Therefore, there is no need to worry about finding food during Ramadan.

The Nightlife During Ramadan

The nights of Ramadan are quite different during Ramadan as well. Usually, people get more energized after breaking their fast. It means that they will spend more time awake in the night than usual. Also, the restaurants and cafes will find a chance for compensating not selling any food during the day. All the above results in a unique nightlife in the cities during Ramadan. The cafés and Restaurants will be open till after midnight. Some of them have specific plans for Ramadan nights. For example, some of the cafes plan group games for their customers. Also, the malls and shops stay open longer than usual. And, the movie theatres remain open one extra hour after midnight.

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Nightlife in Ramadan

So, if you can not have enough fun during the day, you can have enough during the night.

What Are The Special Foods OF Ramadan?

The sweets and foods people serve in Ramadan can be slightly different from other times of the year. Two of the unique desserts you can find in this month, are Zoolbia and Bamieh. They are crunchy traditional Iranian pastries. Saffron and rice pudding is another amazing Iranian conventional dessert. The name of this dessert in Sholezard. Also, eating Ash (a thick and heavy Iranian soup) is very common during Ramadan. Eating Dates, Halva, and Halim is also very common during Ramadan.

As a traditional act, some people might be giving away food and drinks during the evenings. Don’t forget to try the amazingly delicious meals and desserts during Ramadan!
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Special Traditions In Different Regions

Different regions in Iran have specific traditions and rituals for Ramadan. Also, they might serve specific meals (different than other areas of Iran) during this month. So, you can be sure of seeing various traditions when booking an Iran tour package during Ramadan. For instance, Mashhad is the holiest city in Iran. It has Imam Reza’s shrine in it, and that’s why it can get very crowded during Ramadan.

Shiraz is another city with special rituals during Ramadan. People go to the mosque during the last Friday of Ramadan to fulfill their wishes. In Yazd, the women gather in the mosques on the 27th day of Ramadan and sew little bags. They believe sewing these small bags helps with healing the patients.

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A traditional ceremony in Yazd

In Lorestan, people share their foods for Iftar together. Different people share whatever food they have with others. This way, everyone can enjoy tasting all the meals. Traditions like this bring people together more than any other time.

The Last Day Of Ramadan

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Mashhad, Imama Reza shrine

Ramadan ends on the 5th of June in 2019. The name of the last day of Ramadan is Eid-e Fetr. Muslims celebrate this day and do not fast on the last day of Ramadan. It is also a bank holiday which means most of the places will not be open.

Finally, traveling Iran during Ramadan might not seem appealing for some of the tourists. However, some tourists would like to join Iran tours specifically during this month to enjoy seeing the traditions. It can be more enjoyable especially when you are traveling with small group tours. Culture tours such as Optimized Persia tour and the Exclusive culture of Persia are good choices during Ramadan. Also, explore Iran’s western culture tour can be full of amazing experiences during this month.

Iranian Mythology Rostam the hero alibabatrek Damavand; The Symbol of Resistance iran blog -Iran-Tour

Damavand; The Symbol of Resistance

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Damavand base camp (3100m)

The Importance of Damavand for Iranians

Damavand mount has a special place in Iranian mythology and stories. This mount has had a significant impact on the thoughts of the Iranian people throughout history. You cannot find any mount as tall as Damavand in the Alborz mountains. The greatness and glory of this mount have been engaging the minds of the people for so long. Therefore, the ancient geographers thought of it as an unreachable mount. The ancient Iranians believed that the ski is holy. Therefore, Damavand mount which is the closest place to the ski is counted as sacred as well.

Also, due to its unique place in history, Damavand affects the lives of the Iranians in many ways. Damavand has been the subject of many artistic and visual works by famous artists. This mount is still a symbol that you can see in different places. Its pictures are on the current Iranian money, coins, posters, etc.

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Iranian Rials

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Iranian Coin

Barfchal Ceremony

The inhabitants of Ab Ask village perform this ritual every year in the spring. They collect the snows left since the winter and collect them in a whole. This ritual shows the foresight of these people. They store the snows so they can have enough water in summer. At the end of this ritual the time of having food and celebrating comes. The inhabitants of Ab Ask village do this ceremony mostly because of their religious beliefs nowadays. This ceremony has been held for more than six centuries now.

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Barfchal Ceremony

Varf-Chal-Traditional-Ceremony-Ab-Ask-village-Iranian Mythology Zahhak alibabatrek Damavand; The Symbol of Resistance iran blog -Iran-Tour

Barfchal Ceremony

Mount Damavand in Iranian Mythology

Many stories and myths are about Damavand due to its holiness. Some of the most critical mythologic events have occurred in Damavand. This mount is most famous for the legend of Zahaak and Fereydoun. Here are two of the most famous Iranian myths related to Mount Damavand.

Zahhak and Fereydoon:

According to Shahnameh by Ferdowsi Zahaak was a ruler that evil was able to deceive him easily. He had two snakes on his shoulders because the devil had kissed his shoulders. These two snakes were not removable because as soon as someone cut off their heads, another snake would replace it. These two snakes only ate human brains for food. Therefore, Zahaak had ordered to kill two men each day and feed their brain to these snakes. Fereydun was a young man who agreed to lead the people against Zahaak. He fought Zahaak and defeated him in the battle. But, he didn’t kill Zahaak. Fereydun imprisoned him in a cave underneath mount Damavand. This cave is the place where Zahaak will stay until the end of the world. Still, some of the residents near mount Damavand believe that Zahaak is in that cave. They also think that some of the sounds they sometimes hear in Damavand are Zahaak shouting and crying.

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Ferdowsi‘s Shahnameh, Zahhak

Arash the Bowman:

In a war between Iranians and Turanians, both sides agreed for peace. They decided that wherever the bowshot of an Iranian bowman falls, will be returned to Iran. Therefore, the Iranians chose the best archer they had (Arash) and made a special bow and arrow. Arash stood on the top of the Mount Damavand and fired the arrow. The arrow flies since the dawn until sunset. The place where the arrow landed, became the border between Iranians and Turanians. Arash the Bowman dies at the second he fires the arrow because of using all his power. His body tears into pieces and spreads all around Iran and his soul flies with the arrow.

Iranian Mythology Arash the archer alibabatrek Damavand; The Symbol of Resistance iran blog -Iran-Tour

Arash The Archer sculpture in Sa’adAbad Palace

Poems About Damavand

Mount Damavand has always been the symbol of endurance of the Iranians. Therefore, it has attracted the attention of many Iranian poets of different eras. Ferdowsi, Rumi, Nizami, Vahshi Bafqi, Malek o-Shoara Bahar any many others have written poems about Damavand. For example, one of the most famous poems about Damavand is Ode to Damavand by Malek o-Shoara Bahar.  In this ode, Malek o-Shoara used Damavand as the symbol of intellects of Iranian society in the 20th century. Malek o-Shoara believes their features are isolation, separation from the ordinary people and being upset with them.

You can see some verses of this beautiful critical poem below:

O’Shackled white demon!

O’dome of the world, Damavand!

You have a helmet on your head of silver

And a belt on your waste of iron

To cover your face from people

You have hidden your face behind clouds.

In order, to be left alone by these human-faced animals

And these demon-like, sinister people,

You have made a treaty with the lion of sky

And unified with the lucky star

When the earth became cold, dark and

Silent by the celestial oppression,

It threw its fist of rage up the sky,

And you are that fist, O’Damavand!

You are that mighty rough fist of earth

Inherited through long centuries

Europeans in the history of Damavand

The first Europian who wanted to conquer Damavand French. His name was Antoine Olivier, and he was a natural sciences researcher. He came to Iran due to his mission for gathering some information about the Middle East. During his first attempt at conquering Damavand, he found sulfurous rocks on his way. However, he couldn’t conquer Damavand on his first attempt. He tried once more some years later, and this time he managed to conquer Damavand successfully.

Jacques de Morgan travelled the north and south of Iran with the help of the French government. Although he did many valuable services in the field of archaeology, he was a geologist as well. In the winter of 1889, de Morgan tries conquering Mount Damavand but fails at 5300 meters. He provides a plan of Mount Damavand and goes back to France.

De Morgan’s program of climbing is significant because it happened 120 years ago in -26 centigrade temperature.

Mt.Damavand Top alibabatrek Damavand; The Symbol of Resistance iran blog -Iran-Tour

Mt.Damavand (5671m)

Damavand and Music

Shahin Farhat is an Iranian music composer who has composed Damavand symphony. He mentions this symphony as his best work. This symphony includes three parts; the first part visualizes the personality of Damavand and an abstract conquering. The second part is about the beauties of Mount Damavand. Finally, the third part envisions the snow and blizzard in Damavand. Then, this part finishes by describing the glory of Damavand.

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Nowruz and its Origins

Persian New Year has a long history. It includes some traditional cultures and symbols. If you are going to plan an Iran journey, Iranian New year would be a great time so you can celebrate Nowruz in this beautiful country.

  • The beginning of the Persian New Year 1398 (Nowruz 2019) will be on Thursday, March 21st, 2019, 1:28:27 am
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11th Annual Celebration of Nowruz at UCLA’s Royce Hall and Dickson Courts

1.The dawn of Nowruz in history

Nowruz is the traditional Iranian New year which starts at the exact moment of the vernal equinox, commencing the start of the spring. The name comes from Avestan meaning “new day/daylight.” Iranians celebrate Nowruz on March 20/21 each year, at the time the sun enters Aries and spring begins. Some historical narratives attribute the beginning of Nowruz to Babylon. According to these narratives, the current trend of Nowruz in Iran dates back to 538 BC. When Cyrus the Great invaded Babylon. Also, some tales say that Zarathustra was the founder of Nowruz. Iranians have been celebrating New Year for at least 3,000 years. We deeply consider it rooted in the rituals and traditions of the Zoroastrian religion. Many Asian cultures are now celebrating Nowruz such as Iran, Iraq, India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

The tablecloth of 7 items

Haft-Sin هفت سین is somehow the most important part of the Iranian New Year. It is a table consist of 7 Items with a common feature in Persian literature. They all start with the consonant of S.

  • Garlic sign of health
  • Coin sign of prosperity
  • Sumac taste of life sign
  • Senjed (Russian olive) sign of love
  • Apple sign of beauty and kindness
  • Sabzeh (Sprouts) sign of newness
  • Samanu sign of blessing
  • Vinegar sign of patience and happiness
  • Symbol flower or Hyacinth sign of spring

The following items of our list don’t share that common feature.

  • Mirror (sign of light)
  • Hafez and the Quran (signs of faith and belief)
  • Candle (sign of intellectual light)
  • Fish (sign of life)
  • Egg sign of fertility

On New Year’s Day, Iranian families gather around their Haft-Sin and wait for the very moment. Some families keep their Haft-Sin during the thirteen days of Nowruz.

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The tablecloth of 7 items

3.Sabzeh and its origins

As I mentioned before Sabzeh or the Sprouts that we plant for our Haft-Sin is a sign of newness. Planting sprouts have been common among Iranian families for a long time. They usually start planting it in the last month of the year.

Sabzeh in the past:

In the past, twenty-five days before Nowruz, citizens used to build twelve pillars of raw clay in the square of cities. People used to plant 12 kinds of seeds on these pillars. On the sixth day of Farvardin, with a hymn and joy, they picked them and threw them in the air.

Some traditions:

In some cities, people consider the third Wednesday of the last month to plant their Sabzeh. They keep it till the 13th day of Farvardin to give it away to the water.

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Sabzeh

4.The man who used to protect fire

The Persian version of Santa in Iran is Hajji Firuz! He is a fictional folklore who appears in the streets by the beginning of Nowruz. A black face, bright red clothes, and a felt hat are his features. There are different theories about the origin of Hajji Firuz. One of them says: Fire is an important element in the Zoroastrian religion. According to that, there was a man who had to protect the fire in the fire temples. Now we know that the blackface is because of the soot. He used to preserve the fire all the winter. At the beginning of spring, he left the fire temple to give the massage of New Year’s arrival.

Hajji Firuz & Amoo Nowruz

5.What to eat on New Year’s Day

Till now you must know that we have a variety of foods, fruits, vegetables and nuts in Iran. Families pay a lot of attention to what to buy for the New Year. One of our traditions is to have fish and rice mixed with a specific vegetable for New Year’s Day meal. Iranian people spend some of their holidays to visit their relatives so if you live in Iran you need to be prepared for that. For that, we buy fruits and nuts to welcome our guests.

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Fish and rice mixed with a specific vegetable

6.Festival of fire

  • Chaharshanbe Suri is on March 19th, 2019

One of our oldest traditions is Chaharshanbe Suri. Iranian people welcome Nowruz by setting a fire and jumping over it on the last Tuesday of the solar year. On this day, people hold a ceremony to repel their evil desires and meet their aspirations. Chaharshanbe Suri dates back to centuries ago.

The appearance of fireworks in Chaharshanbe Suri:

At first, it was Nasser-al-Din Shah who brought fireworks to Iran with the help of French. First, they held it for the entertainment of Shah and after that people took part in it. In that time they held the ceremony in Toopkhaneh square, then time passed, and it became like what we can see today.

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Festival of fire

7.Sizdah Be-dar

  • Sizdah Be-dar is on April 2nd, 2019

As we know, Sizdah Be-dar is one of Nowruz traditions. People go out to camp in nature with their families. Iranians are entirely familiar with this day, and they make lots of memories on this day. This day is too crucial among us, and we make plans for it before it comes. Name of 13th of Farvardin in our calendar is nature day, and it’s a holiday.  Families spend time playing games, cooking food in nature and lots of other activities.

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Sizdah Be-dar

*Tips for Travelling Iran during Nowruz

Now that you know about Nowruz and Iran’s atmosphere in this period, it might be a good time for you to book a Persia tour. Going on an Iran tour at this time has its own pros and cons.  Different cities of Iran have their own tradition for the New Year, and you get to see a lot at this time. Besides that in this period, most of our cities are crowded. Hotels and other places to stay are out of capacity, and it’s heavy traffic on the roads between cities. So for better management of time, we suggest you visit Iran after the holidays.