Visiting Iran during Ramadan – Traditional Cuisine and Sweets!

Invited to God’s fiesta? Ramadhan is known to be the month of God’s feast, while the guests are believers who fast. Fasting, literally meaning to prevent eating in a period of the day, is a part of almost all religions! Based on Islam, Muslims should fast during the month of Ramazan/Ramadhan, the 9th month of the Islamic calendar.

People in Iran believe that fasting is not all about starving oneself, it’s even more about being gentle, unselfish, and putting a stop to evil deeds! So in Ramadhan, giving away food, money as well as giving a party is pretty common.

How to break a fast like an Iranian? What to eat first at Iftar time?

When the sun sets and the first star shows up in sky, it’s the perfect time to break the fast!

Just like breakfast, the first thing you eat after hours of having nothing is very important for your health! In Iran, a warm beverage like hot rosewater, chicory sweat, and eglantine sweat is one of the best options which is accompanied by dates, Ranginak or Zulbia Bamiyeh! You know what dates are, but how about Ranginak and Zulbia Bamiyeh?

Ranginak is a mixture of date with some walnuts, pistachio, or both served with a special sauce of flour, coconut powder, cinnamon, and cardamom! So delicious and sweet! Iranian eat Ranginak with tea and as a side dish!

Zulbia Bamiyeh are actually two different sweets that normally come together! They are made mainly by farina, baking soda, eggs, rose water and saffron! It’s good to mention that it contains a lot of sugar!

After breaking fast with the warm beverage and the sweet, people say “may god accept (our good deeds) “, as congratulating each other for another day of fasting for Allah sake.  

What is next?

Since the Iftar time is right the same time to practice the 4th and 5th Salah of the day, it’s optional to pray first or eat dinner!

At home, some people, prefer to eat dinner first then practice Namaz (Salah)! While at mosques and by people who are more religious, they perform Salah first, and then they have dinner!

Putting the table! One by one the dinner table is filled with advance prepared cuisine, different side dishes, desert, and even fruits!

The best food inspiration ever!

What are the main Iranian dishes for Iftar in Ramazan holy month?

Foods of Ramadan used to be very simple like different kinds of Ash! Ash is a wealthy kind of soup with different kinds of beans! However, in traditional Persian sofrah fresh bread, vegetables, yogurt, pickles, halwa, and even fruits give a variety of choices to food lovers!

Ramadan Rituals and Special Tradition

One of the most famous rituals of Ramadan is “Laylatol Qadr”, meaning the night of value!

What is Night of Value?

It’s said in Quran that the Quran verses were revealed to Mohammad the prophet at the night of value! So at this night Muslims stay awake at night, recite Quran and pray. 

The night of value is known to be an odd night of the last 10 days of the month of Ramadan! Muslims of Shitte relation and Sunni relation stay awake and pray in different dates!

Shitte relations believe on 23rd night of Ramadan, but also praying on the 19th and 21st of Ramadan.

And Sunni people believe on 27th night of Ramadan, but usually praying all last 10 nights of Ramadan.

Laylatol Ghadr (The night of value) is so important in Iran that some government organizations, companies, and even schools start a few hours later than usual in the morning so that people can get enough rest after the whole night praying.

At Laylatol Qadr, people gather at shrines, mosques, universities, parks, personal houses, and etc, to pray together.

Nowruz, Iranian New Year Celebration

Nowruz, Iranian New Year Celebration

contents      What is Nowruz?      Spring Cleaning (Khouneh Tekouni)      Family Shopping in Nowruz      Hajji Firuz      Haft Sin      Visiting Celebrations      Iranian New Year Meals      Sizdah Bedar

What is Nowruz?

Norooz, the Persian new year is a traditional festival marking the first days of spring and the renewal of nature. It is partly rooted in the religious tradition of Zoroastrianism, one of the most ancient religion in the world, and has been celebrated for over 3,000 years. During Noruz holiday families gather to celebrate. It is observed in Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkey.


Spring Cleaning (Khouneh Tekouni)

Spring cleaning is called khouneh Tekouni in Iran, is the practice of cleaning the house at the same time with the renewal of nature. Weeks before Nowruz, every Iranian excitedly looks up the date and plans for preparing the house for the new year.


Family Shopping in Nowruz

In the Persian new year, renewal is not only about the nature, it is about new clothes and even new furniture. One of the Beautiful ceremonies before the New Year is that all families go out together for shopping and get those requirements that are related to the New Year. Kids are so exited to buy their new clothes for the visiting celebrations.


Hajji Firuz

He is traditional-fictional character for the new year, like Santa Claus, perhaps as a remnant of the ancient Zoroastrian fire-keeper. His face is covered in soot and he is clad in bright red clothes. People gather around him and he dances with tambourines and trumpets bringing glad news of Nowruz coming.


Haft Sin

Soferh-e Haftseen is a kind of tablecloth spreading in every Persian household during Nowruz includes seven items starting with the letter ‘S’ in the Persian alphabet:

Sabzeh” (sprouts), “Sib” (apples), “Samanu” (wheat pudding), “Sir” (garlic), “Senjed” (dried oleaster), “Sumac” (Sumac fruit) and “Serkeh” (vinegar).

You can find other items in this tablecloth like homemade candies, painted eggs, mirrors, flowers and gold fish.


Visiting Celebrations

At the first day of Nowruz (first day of Persian calendar), Iranian families gather around the table of Haft Sin, they kiss each other, and gifts are exchanged. During the next days, the youths visit the senior family members first and then younger ones. This chain of visiting continues to the last day of Nowruz (13th day of the Persian calendar). Usually guests served with nuts, fruits and sweets and the elders give a little money as a gift called “Eydi” to the kids.


Iranian New Year Meals

Iranians are used to prepare special traditional meals at the first day of the new year and the whole family gather to have this meal together in cheerful atmosphere. Sabzi Polo Mahi: This traditional meal that is prepared in different cities of Iran for starting the new year celebration is the mixture of rice and fresh green herbs served with fish. Kookoo Sabzi: This is a kind of traditional light and fluffy omelet includes Herbs, vegetable, eggs and walnut. Reshteh Polo: It is prepared in some cities that is rice cooked with a special noodle.

Sizdah Bedar The thirteenth day of the New Year festival is called Sizdah Bedar. All Iranians go on a picnic in the nature. They play music, dance and eat sweets. On this day, people respect the nature and are thankful of its renewal, they throw Sabze in the rivers as the symbol of greenness.

Celebrating Yalda Night

Celebrating Yalda Night

Celebrations in every nation and country may hold for families to gather together, youngsters sit side by side of their elders, and experiencing happy moments and memories. Theses things remind us how majestic nature is and how merciful God has been toward us.

Yalda Night is an Iranian ancient ceremony which is considered as the last night of fall and the first night of winter. This night equals the first night of winter for those who live in the northern part of earth. From this night the length of days increase while nights become shorter than previous nights in fall. Ancient Iranians celebrated this night since they believed that from that night on the lord’s light spread over the earth much more than before. This type of thanksgiving celebration has survived among Iranians to the contemporary era.

Families used to gather at Yalda night in order to move from the lengthiest night to the light of the next day. They wanted to share their happiness with each other. Yalda contains several beautiful traditions each one of them is designed for a reason. It would be great if every body follows these traditions in its best way. Nowadays People set a beautiful table full of delicious foods, fruits and nuts, Meanwhile, in the past people used to sit around Korsi at Yalda nights.

Korsi: Korsi is a heating utensil which gives Iranian people a feeling of nostalgia. Korsi is made up of a sort table under which a bowel filled with hot coal is situated. People used to spread a quilt over the table to keep the heat under it. Iranian families used to spend their winter nights sitting beside Korsi.


For Yalda night, people provide so many different foods for their spread. Every province in Iran may have its own specific foods, but what are common among all Iranians are watermelon, pomegranate, special nuts like dry fruits that people used to make them but nowadays you can buy it from different stores. These dry fruits and nuts are figs, raisins, walnuts, almonds, pistachio, hazelnut, apricots and so on. Eating any of these nuts means something special. For example seeds are the symbols of earning. People believe that if you eat watermelon at this night, you will never catch cold in the cold seasons.

Among other traditions some highlights are, elders who tell stories to the youngsters of the family, reading Hafez poems and see your Fal. Hafez is a famous Persian poet. We believe that if they pray first and then open Hafez Divan, he’ll tell you about the future and what you have in your mind. 



Pomegranate Celebration


Owning the first place of producing pomegranate, Iran has many things to offer about this amazing fruit and the derived products. Pomegranate trees with their bacciferous fruits have had a long history in Iran. These trees were planted in temples in the era of Zoroastrianism. People use to burn its woods in order to get hidden devils out of their houses as being the “Fruit from Heaven”. They actually pasteurized their houses by doing so. Pomegranate also has a special position in traditional or folk medicine and scientists like Avicena and Abu Reyhan Birooni have written a lot about its advantages. Pomegranate crystal seeds are useful for the heart, cure stomachache, delay senescence, and keeps you safe from cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. If you drink a glass of pomegranate juice every day, you have done your body a great favor ? Many great literary men have also utilized it in their poems and proverbs. They have analogized the shy red faces to the color of a pomegranate. A heart filled with grief is also compared to a broken pomegranate.

Harvest celebrations are held in Iran just like any other place in the world. In pomegranate celebrations, farmers play traditional local music while they are picking pomegranates. Children wear beautiful colorful clothes, youngsters play local games and farmers represent their crops and many other products from pomegranate. People celebrate this occasion in several parts of Iran while the most outstanding of them is in Saveh or “the city of red ruby”. At the beginning of fall, this celebration is held for five days in Saveh. After you pass an hour and a half driving on Tehran-Saveh highway, you will see pomegranate gardens in Saveh no matter which way you have selected to enter the city.

Pomegranate plays an important role in Iranian traditions like Yalda night when people gather around with their families and celebrate the first night of winter. Pomegranate always reminds Iranians of those warm days…

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