Iran Culture and Religion

Iran Culture and Religion

Cultural identity

Iran is one of the oldest cultural countries on earth. Some of the first human civilizations arose on the territory it is today, such as the kingdom of Elam. The country can look back on several thousand years of civilization history.

The awareness of being part of this story is firmly anchored in today’s Iranian culture. Political and ideological attitudes may differ, but pride in their own history is common to almost all Iranians. Iranian culture today rests essentially on two pillars that are firmly interwoven on the one hand, but whose relationship is not free from conflict on the other hand: (pre-Islamic) Persianism and (Shiite) Islam. The largest empires in terms of area were produced by Persia before the spread of Islam, especially under the Achaemenids and Sasanids. Many traditions, customs and habits, The behavior and ways of thinking of the population are (albeit unconsciously) still related to these times and the Islamic Republic also refers to them. For example, the logo of the state airline Iran Air is a symbol from pre-Islamic times.

According to programingplease, Iran is now an Islamic country and most Iranians are Muslims. Especially in the country, Islamic customs, customs and rules shape the life of the population to a large extent. Since Iran as a Shiite country differs from its predominantly Sunni neighbors, a symbiosis of Persianism and Shiite Islam has developed, which shapes the cultural self-image of many Iranians.

For many years, however, there has been a movement among young city dwellers, especially those of the higher social classes, to end this symbiosis (the size of which can hardly be estimated seriously and whose influence is ultimately limited). Even in protest against the system, these people reject Islam as something foreign. They are turning away from everything “ Arab ” (and Islam, brought to Iran by the Arabs, applies to them as such) and turning to their “Persian” roots. However, this sometimes produces bizarre flowers among Iranian exiles and especially on the Internet. For example, there are circles, even if these are not very large, in which attempts are made to ban Arabic words from everyday language and to use only Persian instead. Due to the large number of Arabic loanwords in Persian, this is not an easy undertaking and sometimes leads to neologisms that sound too artificial.

“Modern” achievements that shape everyday culture have long since found their way into the big cities. Almost every Iranian family has a satellite dish, even if it is officially banned. The Internet is widespread, the number of Internet cafés (Cofee Net) is growing steadily, chatting (and increasingly blogging too) is a popular sport among young Iranians. In addition, the number of cell phones is high, especially among young Iranians, even if SIM cards are very expensive. Films from Hollywood, which can be bought everywhere on the streets, are particularly popular. The poor quality and the Islamic censorship that also applies to these pirated copies does not deter anyone. For foreigners, however, it sometimes seems strange when most of the passages in the film Troy in which Brad Pitt can be seen too freely were cut out.

Regardless of these developments, classical poetry and literature continue to enjoy great popularity, and pride in the great national poets Hafez, Saadi and Ferdousi remains unbroken. Most educated Iranians are also familiar with Goethe about the former, which they like to discuss with foreigners from Germany. Ignorance in this area is viewed with a frown.

In addition, Tehran has had an active theater scene for years, which even hosts festivals.

Iran Hafez's tomb in Shiraz


According to its constitution, Iran is an Islamic state; Twelve Shiite Islam is the state religion. All laws of the country must therefore be in harmony with Islamic principles; Sharia applies particularly in the area of family law. Since 1979, Shiite Islam has shaped official life, 90% of all Iranians are Shiite Muslims, plus around 9% Sunnis. However, they see themselves exposed to various forms of discrimination and are disadvantaged before the law. In any case, the clashes between Sunnis and Shiites have increased in recent years. In addition, it can be assumed

In addition to the Muslims, there are Jewish, Christian and Zoroastrian minorities who are recognized by the constitution and have seats in parliament.

Iran has had one of the largest Jewish communities in the Middle East since ancient times. After the revolution of 1978/79 (there had already been minor waves of emigration before), many Jews left the Islamic Republic and moved to Israel, Europe or, in spite of all of Khomeini’s assurances, his attacks were directed against Israel and not against Iranian citizens of the Jewish faith America. Among other things, the former minister and member of parliament Shaul Mofas and the former President of Israel Moshe Katsav were born in Iran. Today around 8500 Jews still live in Iran, mainly in Tehran and Shiraz. You provide a parliamentarian.

The Christian minority of Iran consists mainly of Armenians of different denominations, there are also some Eastern Christians, among whom the Assyrians are the largest group. The Christians traditionally lived mainly in the north-west of the country, as well as in Tehran and Esfahan. After the revolution, many Armenians moved to Tehran, so that today 75% of them live there. There are around 100,000 Christian Iranians in total, and they have two seats in parliament.

The Zoroastrian minority, adherents of one of the most important pre-Islamic religions in Iran, has now shrunk to around 30,000 members after waves of emigration to India in the 19th century and to the USA in the 20th century. Besides Tehran, its members live mainly in the area around Yazd in central Iran. They too are represented by a parliamentarian.

The Baha’i occupy a special position among the religious minorities. The members of this religion, which emerged from Shiite Islam in Iran in the 19th century, are officially regarded as apostates from Islam and therefore have no rights. You are not given any personal papers and are completely at the mercy of the state.