As an Iranian interacting with many foreigners (those who are probably interested in Iran or travel to Iran), I encounter with many interesting questions in my day-to-day life and I also discover some interesting, yet overlooked details about my country and its culture.
The questions normally range from more general topics like politics, economics and religion to tiny details about everyday life of people in Iran.
Here are some of the most frequent topics I have been asked as an Iranian. So let’s check it out to see if you also carry the same doubts about this less-known land or not!
Do you live in the future?
When I talk about dates and calendars in general, our Iranian solar calendar is one of weirdest details about Iran.
People normally get surprised when they understand that we use 3 official calendars in the country and the main one starts with the first day of spring, and when they here about the date, it sounds to them that we live in another era, probably in the future, as we are about to begin the year 1400!
It’s Saturday, let’s go to work!
When most people around the world are about to start their weekend, people in Iran get ready to go work, because it is Saturday! Yes, the week in Iran ends on Friday and so the weekend officially starts on Thursday.
So, it is good to have this in mind when you are organizing a trip to Iran, as it might affect the details of your plans in many ways!
Iranian food is not Indian food!
Unlike what many foreigners might think about Iranian gastronomy, we are not in general accustomed to eat spicy foods as it is so common in countries like India.
It is true that we use more spices than other countries in general, but these spices are not normally hot and spicy and they rather bring a different taste to our food.
You may sense the taste of turmeric, black pepper, saffron and cinnamon in many foods, but at last the food won’t be spicy (although it would definitely be more salty, sourer and stranger in general!!)
And do you have it on in the house, too?
The hijab theme is always a controversial topic and usually hard to explain in many ways. It is more related to the government rules and peoples’ beliefs than other subjects.
So, no, we dress normal in our houses, although if you get invited to some traditional or religious families’ houses, you might see a woman having it on because of strangers in the house, as it widely depends on the family’s background and religious beliefs.
Who drives in Iran and how?
Many foreigners have this idea that women are not allowed to drive in Iran, but it is not true. Actually, they have had the possibility to drive since many years ago and they still do.
In fact, in my experience, they are better drivers in big cities like Tehran, as they respect the law more than many men (calm down! Just an idea!!). But it is true that driving in Iran in general might surprise (and even scare you!) in some moments!
Is it really snowing in Tehran?
Unlike the existing image of Iran, its capital and many other cities are green, with many lovely trees and cool weather and in fact, the 3 thousand and some snow-capped mountains of Tehran, complete the beautiful image of this city.
We normally experience snow in the city during the winter, but you can see the snow on top of the mountains (and even go skiing!) in other times of the year in Tehran, too.
Iranian rap, Ghormeh Sabzi-Pizza?
Actually, it is not a very strange and rare combination. Iranian rap and other Iranian versions of different types of music have been evolved and developed during the contemporary time and now have an acceptable background and history.
As an Iranian, I listen to many of them, as there are some well-made raps, rocks and fusion versions of Iranian music with good Persian lyrics.
What might sound strange to you as a foreigner, would probably be listening to the Iranian classical music and Avaaz (or Awaz), which is an unmetered vocal section of a mode in Persian music and might sounds unfamiliar or totally new to you.