October 17 - The art and culture of Iran has manifested itself in several aspects all through the history of the nation as well as that of many other nations. Like the Persian carpet that exhibits numerous colors and forms in a dazzling display of warmth and creativity. Tolerance, accessibility and ability to adopt the best are the three factors characterizing the Culture of Iran. The cultural development witnessed by Iran today is a result of a long evolution since the ancient times. Iranians were not only open to other cultures, but freely adopted all they found useful for them. Thus an eclectic cultural elasticity has been said to be one of the key defining characteristics of the Persian spirit and a clue to its historic longevity. After the Arab invasion of Persia, many of its people felt lost. Persians now had a choice, they could accept a new culture, including nationality, language (Arabic) and religion (Islam), or they could hold tight to the unique attributes making up their Persian identities. Anyone who has heard of Persian pride knows they fought to remain as Persians, not Arabs. Islam did eventually displace the native Zoroastrian religion, however, the Persians held onto their identity through their language, literature and arts which will be discussed in further detail later.
Persian language, also known as Farsi, is the most widely spoken member of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian languages. It is the official language of Iran and is also widely spoken in Afghanistan and, in an archaic form, in Tadjikistan and the Pamir mountain region. As part of the Indo-European family of languages, Persian is distantly related to Latin, Greek, the Slavic and Teutonic languages, and English. Many different dialects of Persian are spoken in various parts of the Central Plateau, and people from each city can usually be identified by their speech.
Persian art is particularly noted for its architecture and production of exquisite miniatures, although perhaps best known today for ornate carpets. Countless painters, weavers, potters, calligraphers, metalworkers, stone masons etc. have produced some of the most beautiful works ever created, and contributed to the Persian artistic heritage that is known throughout the world. Although the wide diversity of outside influences makes it difficult to pin down distinct characteristics, Persian art is generally characterized by its firm lines, extensive detail, and bold use of color.
Festivals and celebrations
Though the traditional customs and traditions of the Iranians may often seem to be complex to the foreigners yet its detailed study reveals that this particular country is immensely rich when it comes to culture. Iranians do celebrate several festive occasions. There are a number of festivals that bring national holidays with them. It is generally believed that the origin of almost all the Iranian national festivals come from the Pre Islamic Zoroastrian era.The important National festivals of Iran are the Mehrgan, Noruz, Yalda, Chahar Shanbesh Suri. Islamic festivals such as Ramadan, muharram, Nimeh Şabân are also equally important.
Written by Richard Nelson Frye
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