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Live with an Iranian family

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In many countries Iranians are often mistakenly referred to as Persians. It is true that Persians are the largest ethnic group living in Iran, yet there are many other ethnicities as well who live together in one country called Iran. So calling the whole nation by the name of only one of its ethnicities is a gross mistake. The ethnicities living side by side are different from each other in their language, behavior, culture and clothes. So if you are traveling to their areas, it is better to know about them, respecting their culture which will guarantee you a more enjoyable trip.

Differences can exist not only between the ethnicities, but also between the inhabitants of different cities who belong to the same ethnic group.

Here we will try to provide short explanations about each ethnic group of Iran focusing on more touristic areas.

Topics

Finding a host

Sometimes finding an Iranian host is so easier than you can imagine, it means that maybe if you are walking in a city or a village they invite you to their home, also websites like Coughsurfing.org helps you to find a host in many cities of Iran, in big cities like Tehran and shiraz coughsurfing has a big community and you can find a host with it easily but in some cities like Yazd it’s harder because of that city culture, even in cities like Yazd which are so old we recommend you to enjoy cheap traditional hotels.

We also are trying to find hosts in each city and put their contact details in website.

What you will need there?

Iranian’s homes have everything that someone needs to stay, they always have guests and they are used to have guests even from other cities which stay at night so when they invite you they are ready for you fully but better to bring with yourself some not expensive souvenirs like cheap chocolates because in Iran everyone which want to go to someone’s home buy a little gift like sweets or chocolates to show their gratitude to host. Also don’t forget your private equipment like Towel, shampoo, Toothpaste, brush and we recommend you that try to have toilet paper in your bag (Which you can find in many shops in Iran) because Iranians mostly use water for cleaning themselves in WC of course many of them use toilet paper but it’s not uncommon that you can’t find toilet paper in their homes

Different cultures

In Iran we have families with different cultures, 50 years ago many Iranian families where similar to each other and difference between them was just because of their ethnicity but like any other nation after explosion of information in the world and beginning to get more rich they got known with foreign cultures so they started to learn that , some parts of Iranians changed their culture totally to foreigners culture specially Europeans and some of them mixed that with their traditional culture and also parts of them remained with their own culture.

Obviously most changes happened in big cities and especially in gentry’ part of society which had more contact with foreign culture, so nowadays you can find all of those families and cultures in Iran.

Totally Modern Families

This part of society totally changed to western culture, they dress like western countries and do not care to religions, and most of them have regular trips to Europe so when you meet them you will get more familiar and less difference between your friends also it means you cannot see Iranian behaviors so much. They don’t care about Islamic rules but these kinds of people are not so much and just in big cities.

Traditional and Muslim Families

Many Iranians protected their traditional culture, of course it brings some limitations to them but they are living many years with this culture, many people in little cities and also a major part in big cities saved their culture. I their homes women have to wear hijab front of men who are not from their “Mahrams”, Mahrams are husband, boys, brothers and father of a woman. Also they shouldn’t shake hand with none Mahrams people. Of course you can try traditional Iranian family’s culture in their homes; mostly they are so kind and best hospitality in Iran.

Mixed Culture

Maybe you can find this culture more than 2 others in cities; they try to keep 2 different cultures together and sometimes it makes them unpredictable, for example it’s possible that they drink alcohol or don’t wear hijab (which are forbidden in Islam) but even they pray or in Ramadan they get Fast like other Muslims. Of course their Iranian culture is more powerful and they are trying always to make a balance between them even it don’t make any sense

Meeting them, getting into home

When you get into an Iranian home you have to care some points which maybe you didn’t faced with so take care about these matters;

  • TAKE CARE TO TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES at entrance. Most of Iranians use carpet on their floor and many of them eat their meals on carpet so they do not walk in their homes with shoes.
  • Some Iranians have modern family and their females don’t have problem for hand shaking with men but many of them do not shake hand with someone with opposite gender so when you are handshaking wait till they rise up their hands then you will know that they have or don’t have problem with handshaking.
  • Again do not forget to take off your shoes!
  • Like any other place do not get into rooms without warning because in some families girls need to wear something as hijab.
  • When you are going for shower please take care remove and wear your clothes inside bathroom and do not walk outside naked or without clothes.
  • Iranians love tea and they like to gather together for drinking tea, do not miss tea gatherings as you can see their life and behavior
  • most of Iranian women and some of Iranian men kiss their same gender face and it’s rare that they kiss opposite gender when they meet each other, so it doesn’t mean that they are not straight, because Iran is an Islamic country they couldn’t kiss opposite gender face, so do not wonder if someone from your gender kisses your face, its normal in Iran.
  • if you are with your GF/BF or your spouse, do not make French kiss in public, nobody do that in public in Iran.
  • Maybe you ask them something that is not ordinary like smoking or walking by shoes inside home and they reply you “no problem” but as you remember about Taarof maybe they don’t say their real opinion and you are annoying them and it make them unhappy.
  • If you stay more than 5 days in their home try to buy some foods or snacks to show you have a share in their hospitality.
  • Getting around in big cities like Tehran with private car costs and time consuming so do not ask them to come with you just tell them that you are going to search around and if they like to join you they will tell you that.