Persian Holidays and Traditions

The Persian year begins in the vernal equinox around March 20th when the daylight and night fall are the same length. The Persian Calendar is the official calendar of Iran and Friday is the weekly day of rest. A typical work week is from Saturday to Wednesday.

Some of the major public holidays in Iran include Oil Nationalization Day (March 21), Nowruz—New Years Day (March 31), the Prophet’s Birthday and Imam Sadeq (June 4), and the Death of Imam Khomeini (June 5). Additional holidays include The Anniversary of the Uprising against the Shah (January 30), Ashoura (February 11), Victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution (April 2), Sizdah-Bedar—Public Outing Day to end Nowrooz (April 1), and Islamic Republic Day (January 20).

Persian weddings are quite different from western weddings.  There is a legal process that takes place earlier in the day and then the wedding reception follows.  The reception lasts for about 3-7 days. The mother of the bride passes down a beautiful spread made of cashmere, satin or silk to her daughter. Several traditional items are placed on the spread to include a mirror, candlesticks, seven herbs and spices, flatbread, a basket of eggs, decorated nuts, a basket of pomegranates and apples, a cup of rose water, a bowl of sugar, etc.  Each of these items is a symbol of something important for the married couple.

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