When you’re on vacation, the first thing you want to encounter is warm and friendly people. If you’re looking for a destination where you can expect lots of pleasant interactions, head to Iran that is home to the friendliest and most hospitable people in the world.
During your visit in Iran, you will expect friendly locals offering a warm welcome and even inviting you over for a tea or a home-made dinner. As a tourist to Iran, you need to be familiar with greeting etiquettes and phrases in Iran, too make better interactions with people around you.
To avoid mistakes, read this article to learn how to greet people in Iran.
Useful Persian Greeting Phrases
If Iran is the next destination you have planned to travel to, you’d better learn some essential Persian phrases before your trip. You may, actually, find someone knowing a bit of English in any places in Iran but you may need to know some Persian words as well as numbers when you want to take a taxi or buy something in bazaars in Iran.
The most common way to say “Hello” in Persian is “Salaam”, which means peace, along with a sincere handshake. You can use this word for greeting in different situations and different times of the day. In the morning, you can also use “Sobh bekheir” that means “Good morning”. To say “Good evening”, though, they use “Shab bekheir” and to say “Goodbye” they usually say ‘khoda hafez’ that means “May God protect you”
But this is not all! Greeting can be longer and the word “Salam” may be followed by other phrases like “Chetori?” or “Khoubi?” that means “How are you?” and then the response: “Khoubam, mersi” that means: “I’m fine, thank you”. Iranians may continue even more by asking about all the family members too.
As a tourist, you may require mastering in the art of “taarof” in social situations, before traveling to Iran! You may see most Iranians use “taarof” in social situations, which is a kind of social behavior embedded in Iranian culture. However, ‘taarof’ can be misleading and land you in very sticky social situations.
Shaking hands is common in Iran, too. In formal situations people shake hands formally, while in informal situations it can accompany with three kisses on the cheeks, too. But remember, don’t offer your hand to shake hands with a female in Iran. Any physical contact with the opposite gender is forbidden in public; however, people who know each other usually do so. Iranian men commonly greet women by placing their hand over their heart and nodding/bowing.
When meeting someone in Iran, you’d better let the Iranian person initiate the greeting. Sometimes, a simple respectful “salaam” with a gentle bowing (partly) and placing your hand over your heart is the safest way to avoid making mistakes.
As a Guest in an Iranian Home
As a visitor in Iran, a country with the most hospitable people around the world, you may be invited over at least once. Part of Iranian hospitality is to shower guests with abundance. Iranians have a saying that “guest is a gift from god”. They offer love, respect and warmth unconditionally to every guest visiting their household.
To appreciate such kindness it is a good idea to know and observe the basic etiquette rules for the visitors of Iranian families. The first thing you should keep in mind is taking off your shoes before entering the house. There might be some exceptions, though. In such cases, your host will let you know.
Don’t be late for a dinner gathering and it’s also very much appreciated to take some flowers, chocolates or other gifts with you for your host.
Iranians use a lot of ‘taarof’ you need to be aware of while you are being invited over, so do not refuse everything. Show particular respects toward the elderly people.
Other Good Manners
Some types of etiquette are culture specific. It is a good idea to be aware of the good and bad manners in Iran before your trip to this country. For example, Iranians do not blow their nose in public. Or, it is not good manners to sit or stand in front of a person while turning your back to them, unless you have to. If so, you can apologize for the inconvenience and they will give a smile in response and use the typical taarof saying: “gol posht o ru nadâreh”, which means “a flower has no front or back”.
Just make sure you read the articles at Iranviva.com that cover everything you need to know, to be well prepared for a wonderful trip to Iran.