- NATIONAL ANTHEM (Ey Iran)
The father is usually
considered to be the head of the household. The elderly are respected and
cared for by younger members of the extended family. Relatives remain very
close to each other. Parents feel a lifelong commitment to children, often
providing them with financial support well after marriage. Unmarried
children usually live with their parents until they marry, regardless of
their age. Distinctions between upper and lower social classes were blurred
during the costly war with Iraq in the 1980s, but recent economic changes
have allowed a small business class to flourish.
The diet varies throughout
the country, but in general Muslims do not eat pork or drink alcohol. Under
current law, alcohol consumption is forbidden. Rice and wheat bread are the
most common staples. Rice is often served with a meat and vegetable stew.
Yoghurt, also very common, is served with rice or other foods. Fresh
vegetables and fruits are important components of the diet. White cheeses
are also popular.
A handshake is the customary
greeting in Iran. A slight bow or nod while shaking hands shows respect.
Since the 1979 revolution, women have not been allowed to shake hands with
men in public. To shake hands with a child shows respect for the parents. A
person will often ask about the health of the other and his or her family. A
typical Farsi greeting is Dorood (“Greetings”); an appropriate
response is Dorood-bar-to (“Greetings to you”). People often use
Arabic greetings, such as Salam (“Peace”). A common parting phrase is "Khoda
hafiz". Formal titles and surnames are used to show respect. It is usual to
stand when someone enters the room for the first time and when someone
Socializing with family or friends is the main recreational activity, along with visits to teahouses and the bazaar, and strolls through the streets. Iranians enjoy such sports as soccer, wrestling, the martial arts, basketball, volleyball, and table tennis. In cities, people also enjoy going to the cinema to see films, which are subject to strict censorship laws.
The Iranian New Year,
called Norooz (Nowrooz), is celebrated around 21 March, or the vernal equinox. This
is an ancient Zoroastrian holiday, and is believed to derive from
pastoral festivals heralding the arrival of spring. The holiday lasts for 13
days, and involves the wearing of new clothes, gift-giving, visiting friends
and relatives, and eating special foods. In particular, seven foods
beginning with the letter “S” are taken, and symbolic objects are placed on
the table, including a mirror, candlesticks, and a bowl with a single green
leaf floating in it. On the final day of the holiday, families go on
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