17 Fun Facts About Iran To Challenge Your Perspective

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Iran has been through a lot of historical events. These include hundreds of empires including some of the most powerful ones that have ever ruled.

With a population of 80 million, Iran is rooted in culture and history with many fun facts that the mainstream media won’t cover, choosing instead to focus on its political instability.

I’ll help you explore some amazing facts to frame Iran from a completely different perspective.

1. Iran Has its Own Calendar

Unlike the rest of the world, who follow one calendar, Iranians have one of their own. 

Iran follows the solar calendar, which is based on the Earth’s movements around the Sun. 

In their calendar, the first six months have 31 days, the following five months have 30 days, and the last month of the year has 29 days. In leap years, the last month has 30 days in the Iranian calendar. 

2. Thursdays & Fridays in Iran are the Saturdays and Sundays of the Entire World

The working week in Iran ends on Wednesday. It means Friday is their version of Sunday. 

Thursday is like Saturday for Iranians when the shops and banks are open, but some offices are closed. 

3. Don’t Show a Thumbs Up in Iran

Outside of Iran, showing a middle finger to anyone is a sign of disrespect and is a cuss gesture. 

Likewise, a thumbs-up in Iran portrays the same intention as holding a middle finger. It’s a grave disrespect that might hurt the sentiments of people in the country. 

4. Nose Blowing in Public is Rude in Iran

If you visit Iran and are blowing your nose in public, get ready to see some ugly looks at you. 

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It is considered rude and gross in Iranian culture. If you have the urge, you ought to use a nearby washroom or do it in your private space. 

5. Same-Sex Union is Banned, But Sex-Change Operations Are Encouraged

People of Iran came to know about sex-change operations in 2008. Since then, it has been the second-ranked country after Thailand to have the most sex-change operations. 

The Iranian government considers it a crime for people of the same sex to be in a relationship and offers financial assistance to people who want to change their sex. 

6. Iran Produced a Carpet Big Enough to Cover a Soccer Ground

In 2007, Iran Carpet Company made a hand-woven carpet for a mosque in Abu Dhabi. 

Its actual size is 60,000.81 sq. ft. To help you get an idea of how big it is, the carpet can cover an entire soccer field. 

7. No Alcohol Anywhere Across Iran

Forget about buying and enjoying alcoholic drinks in Iran. You won’t get any shop that legally sells it in the country. 

There are no such provisions even for tourists to carry their own liquor from different countries. So, it is better you don’t try it out as the bags will be scanned at the airport.

8. Iran is One of the Youngest Countries in the World

Iran is among the young countries of this world. More than 70% of the population in Iran is below the age of 30 years. 

9. Obtaining a Certificate of Marriage in Iran Demands that a Couple Attend a Lecture on Contraception

When couples get married in Iran, they need a certificate of marriage to establish the relationship legally. 

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The prerequisite for obtaining this license is to attend an hour-long contraception class. This may seem hilarious to us westerners, but it’s customary for Iranians, much like obtaining a driver’s licence.

10. Take Your Shoes Off Almost Everywhere

If you are visiting a shop, a house, a store, or anywhere around Iran, make sure you take off your shoes at all times. 

It is disrespectful in their culture to walk within the residential or business spaces with shoes on. 

11. A Law in Iran Allows a Couple to Marry for a Few Hours or Weeks

There is a law in Iran that allows a couple to marry for around a few hours or a few weeks, called ‘Pleasure Marriage’ in the country. But, both should have their consent for such a marriage. 

12. Iran was Earlier Known as Persia

Before 1935, the country’s name was Persia. In 1935, the King of Iran, Reza Shah, proposed the idea of changing the country’s name to Iran. 

Iran means the Land of Aryans. Since then, history remembers the country as Iran. 

13. Native Language of Iran is Persian and Not Arab

Even though Iran is a Shia Muslim country, 61% of the Iranians are Persians. Therefore, the native language of the country is Farsi or Persian. 

The other 39% of the population of Iran comprises Azeris, Arabs, Baluchs, Lors, Kurds, and other ethnic groups. 

14. Iranians Often Say Things They Don’t Mean

Iranians say many humble and polite things to their guests and relatives, but most of the time, they don’t mean it. 

‘Ghorbunet Beram’ or ‘Fedat’ means ‘I will sacrifice myself for you’. But, they just say it to end a conversation politely or to show love to friends or family members. But they don’t actually mean it. 

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Similarly, Iranians might offer you something that they don’t actually mean to implement. This gesture is called Taarof. 

For example, Iranians may request you to stay at their places at night, but they don’t mean it. 

So, if you come across such a situation, humbly deny it by saying ‘Nah, Merci’, which means ‘No Thanks’. If you say yes to it at once, then you might get to see rude and ugly faces. 

But, if they ask you again, they might actually mean it. You get to accept their offering. 

15. Iranian Weavers Knowingly Make Mistakes on Their Persian Rugs in Terms of Design

Iranian weavers knowingly make a mistake while designing popular Persian rugs. It is to symbolize their devotion towards God and resembles that the almighty is the only perfect creator. 

These rugs are sold all across the world and are an evident part of Persian culture for 2500 years.

16. Iranians Drink Tea After Every Meal

Iranians have a deep-rooted love for tea. In every Iranian house, tea is served after every meal. 

2 men drinking tea in Iranian cafe

Every gathering among the people of Iran is incomplete without their famous Iranian tea, brewed as black tea without milk. 

17. Majority of University Students are Women

Iran has been featured regularly in the media recently for its restrictions placed on females. They previously placed greater restrictions and one law prevented women from joining any university courses. 

Fortunately today, more than 65% of university students are women. It is easier than ever for any Iranian woman to acquire a degree in higher education.

Joshua Smith

Joshua has visited 10 countries and has another 110 to go! He plans to sail around the world over 5 years, and then spend the next 5 years driving around the world in a 4×4. He prefers to explore the more remote places without the tourists, and yet, doesn’t mind the ritzy feel of business class at 10,000 feet either.

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