It’s not only the four seasons that change your travel experience to Iran. Various Persian holidays and Islamic occasions throughout the year can change the atmosphere of the country and affect your trip. Some of them affect your eating habits, while others are heavy peak seasons during which finding a room will be very difficult.
If you are planning to travel to Iran during certain Persian holidays, it’s essential to be aware of how that occasion might impact your trip. Below we have provided you with a list of these occasions and how they might affect your trip.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. In this month, Muslims from all the world follow the words of the prophet and fast for thirty days from dawn to dusk. During the time of the fast, Muslims must not eat, drink, or commit any sins.
Ramadan can have important effects on your trip to Iran. Nobody, including tourists, is allowed to eat and drink in public before sunset. Almost all restaurants and fast-food chains are also closed during daylight and serve only takeaway food.
Ramadan isn’t all bad news for tourists. In this month, certain sweets and pastries like Zoolbia (Jalebi) and Bamiyeh are sold in their best quality, and they are easy to find. Aush and Haleem are also common sightings in Ramadan.
There is no denying that Nowruz is one of the most beautiful times of the year in Iran. The Persian New Year marks the coming of spring. Everywhere is green and everybody is happy in this 13-day long Persian holiday.
Because traveling has almost become a custom for Iranians during Nowruz, this Persian holiday is considered a massive peak season. Rooms in several cities are sold out before the holidays even start. The most crowded destinations during Nowruz include Shiraz, Isfahan, Mashhad, Hamedan, Qom, Sarein, Qeshm, Kish, and the northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran. Note that it’s not always impossible to find Nowruz accommodation in these places, but it’s mostly the overpopulation and the unavailability of good rooms that make these cities highly undesirable Nowruz destinations.
But don’t be discouraged just yet. Nowruz is the perfect time to travel to some of the more underrated tourist destinations of Iran. Read our post on the best places to visit in Iran during Nowruz for a list of the best destinations that you can visit during this ancient Persian holiday.
Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, is one of the four sacred months in Islam in which war and killing are forbidden. The Shia mourn the first ten days of Muharram, in which the third Shia Imam and his army fought and died in Karbala.
Muharram’s significance in Iran is undeniably big. Tents are set up throughout the streets in all cities, in which Nazri (free food given to the public as a religious ritual) is given out in the evenings. Mosques and Hosseiniyehs hold mourning ceremonies every night for the first eight nights. In the ninth and tenth days, known as Tasu’a and Ashura, mourning Dasteh groups dressed in black come out in the street and mourn Imam Hossein’s death in a ceremonial manner. From the 11th day forward, the number of religious ceremonies and tents decreases significantly.
There are a few impacts Muharram might have on your trip. Many streets and important places, including the grand bazaars in Tabriz, Tehran, and many other places, are closed up during Tasu’a and Ashura. If you want to witness mass-scale Islamic religious ceremonies in Iran, however, Muharram is the perfect time of the year for you to travel.
Besides the major special occasions, there are a few other Persian holidays that can affect your experience in Iran to some extent.
The first one is the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution which is on February 11th. On this day, protesters from all over the country gather in the major streets of each city and chant slogans. This makes streets and public transportation (especially the ones leading to the routes of the protests) extremely crowded. The same thing also happens on the last Friday of Ramadan (namely Rouz-e-Qods). Therefore, it’s a good idea to stay away from the main streets (e.g. Azadi Street in Tehran) and avoid taking the bus or the subway leading to them.
There are some Persian holidays that are only celebrated indoors. An example of such holidays is Yalda Night, which is the longest night of the year and is on December 21st. On this night, Iranians gather with their family members to read poems of Hafiz and feast on nuts, pomegranates, watermelon and all kinds of sweets. If you befriend any locals during your visit, it’s quite likely that you would be invited to this family gathering and have an unforgettable Iranian experience.
Another festive day is called Chaharshanbeh-Suri, the last Tuesday night on the Persian Calendar. The celebration normally begins in the evening when the families, friends, and neighbors gather and jump over the fire and play with firecrackers. It’s a good idea, however, to spend this night safely with a group of friends or acquaintances preferably indoors, since there’s a chance of fire on the streets due to the abuse of the equipment.
A major Persian holiday that Iranians celebrate with their families is called Sizdah-Be-Dar (or Nature’s Day), which is on April 2nd. This day is basically the Iranian national picnic day. Families gather in parks, jungles, or wherever they can enjoy the beauty of nature. They then eat meals and snacks, play some outdoor games and enjoy the beautiful spring weather with one another. On this day, the parks and jungles are extremely crowded, and it can be really difficult to find a place to sit. However, in that atmosphere, you can truly feel a sense of unity with the others and with nature itself.Browsing Category:Iran Persian Holidays