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5 Surprising Cultures of Iran That Nobody Tells You

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5 Surprising Cultures of Iran That Nobody Tells You

From religious aspects to social habits, the culture of Iran is an interesting mixture of myths, realities, norms, and forbidden fruits. This country has always been a mysterious place for those who have an adventure-seeking spirit.

You’ve most probably come across popular topics like what do Iranian men and women wear, how is Persian new year celebrated in Iran, or else. These particular dead horses have been kicked around the block many times. But, some aspects of the culture have remained untold.

In this blog post, I’m going to share a few of them and take you inside the very heart of Iranian culture.

1) Looking for a husband, not a joke but a serious part of every tradition!

As inseparable as ham and eggs, Iranian traditions do not end without a wish or act for finding a better half. Let me make it clear in some examples.

With the Persian new year coming around the corner, Iranian people begin to clean, decorate, and prepare their homes for the upcoming year. This is a tradition called “Khane Tekani (house shaking)”.

The funny part is that they also sweep their daughters out of the building with a broom, hoping that the girl gets married and leaves her father’s house within the new year!

This is not the end of the story, however, and the efforts for finding Mr. Right do not end here. On many other occasions, this husband-seeking scenario continues.

Another example is the Persian wedding day. On this day, when the groom gives a ring to her bride, her sister or a close friend must wear this ring immediately after the bride to be the one who succeeds to get married next.

2) Dolly nose mania for looking more western than ever!

Believe it or not, Tehran bears the nickname of nose job capital of the world. With more than 200,000 nose surgeries performed annually in the country, you will see many Iranian men and women showing off with a bandage on their noses in the streets.

You may wonder how such a costly procedure becomes a trend in a country where people are not well-paid or quite rich and ask yourself how much is the nose job cost in the country? Well, let me relieve you! This lies behind the fact that, nose job surgery costs only 1,500 USD in Iran, which is 3 to 5 times lower than the price in other places. Such a merit!

As the dolly nose is considered to be classy, those who haven’t had the procedure done may also wear a fake bandage. This is, of course, part of the Iranian appetite to look fleek.

3) Smoking and drinking alcohol, but not in the public eye!

Although it is prohibited by law and religion, Iranian people are freely drinking alcohol in their houses. If you’re lucky enough to run into some cool guy, he may even invite you for a glass of handmade wine.

Plus, with the new millennials, it’s not unusual to talk weed and marijuana anymore. Opium is also quite popular, albeit among uneducated people who currently make for the smaller population of the country. This is because opium is dirt cheap in Iran. In some parts of the country, you can buy 1 gr of opium only for 1 USD.

Smoking opium is even normal among locals in Kerman. It is part of their family gatherings’ habits. But it doesn’t mean that being addicted is accepted or they do it often.

4) Taarof, a symbol of respect and politeness!

This is the one you will need to take into consideration if you want to communicate better. As part of the Iranian’s social culture, they do not accept gifts, money, food, and the like in the first place. Even when you are buying something from a shop or once you want to pay for the share of your food, they may not accept it easily. This is just taarofing and you need to ask them again and even insist on paying your money. This is just a habit to show how polite and merciful they are, but kind of frustrating!

5) Mehrieh: it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg to win your lady over in Iran!

This may scare you a little bit, especially if you’ve been thinking of marrying a Persian girl. According to the law, a man needs to make the commitment to pay a certain amount of money to the girl he is about to marry. This is called ‘Mehrieh’, and it should be paid if the couple divorces or whenever the wife requests it.

The scary part is that by a certain amount of money, I’m not talking about a reasonable amount, but thousands of gold coins, an expensive apartment in the best part of the town, or maybe an arm and a leg of the husband! Families and especially the bride see this as proof of love and loyalty by the groom, and it shows how much your lovebird cares about you.….

I know you might have said to yourself “what the hell?” as you were reading the above. But I’m sure none are as strange as the African custom of lip plates or the Thai people tradition of wearing rings around their necks to have a more attractive appearance. The latter can be equal to the plastic surgery trend spreading among young Iranian generation. However, for Thai girls, it comes with a lot of pain and tolerance as they have to deal with the rings since they are 5. But Iranian girls chase their beauty in a fantasy way by simply finding best plastic surgeons in Iran and going through a 2-hour operation in a modern hospital.

Another story here can be the tradition of getting a healthy liver out of a chicken to be allowed to date the girl you are in love with in China. Not as tough as the Mehrieh thing in Iran, but it’s the same weird traditional hell which people still stick to.

All in all, messed up traditions exist everywhere, and it’s nothing but the bizarrely interesting soul of a nation’s culture. If it weren’t for the sake of exploring these new ideas and behaviors, traveling would have been such a waste of time and money.



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