Ramadan is the month of fasting in the religion of Islam and is considered one of the most important months of the year in all Islamic countries. During this month many Muslims fast during the day and break their fast at sunset that is known as the “Iftar” time. As Iran is a Muslim country, fasting is practiced by a high number of the locals and some special general customs and regulations take place during the month of Ramadan in Iran. As Ramadan is a month as per the Islamic Lunar calendar, the beginning of this month is not a fixed date but in the year 2019, Ramadan in Iran starts today on the 8th of May. Tourists planning to visit Iran can expect Ramadan to shift 10 days early each year on, so for the next five years, the month of Ramadan in Iran starts during the spring season in Iran.
During Ramadan, most Iranians avoid any food or drink from sunrise to sunset and therefore most restaurants are either closed until near sunset or only serve cold dishes such as salami sandwiches for take away. Tourists visiting the country can expect some restaurants in selected hotels in Iran to provide full service so make sure to request this information from you Iran tour operator or your hotel reception. Although fasting is obligatory for Muslims, an exception is there for travelers journeying for more than ten days so most Iranian tour guides accompanying tourists on their tours in Iran will not be fasting.
Iran is great to visit in the month of Ramadan as all around the country a variety of ceremonies, customs and traditions are held. Some of the more important of these are:
As mentioned earlier, Iftar is known as the time when Muslims break their fast. Iftari is a ceremony when a host invites guests and serves them their sunset meal and together they pray and break their fast. An Iftari can be private or public, the private ones are mostly family members of friends getting together to break their fast alongside each other. On the other hand public Iftaris are usually organized to as charity events and to serve the poor with a hot meal. Attending one of these Iftaris and accompanying the locals during their meal while being a part of this great cause will certainly be a highlight of any Ramadan tour in Iran for any tourist.
Just before the break of dawn, Muslims take a bite to support going through the hunger or thirst of the fasting day ahead. Because of this tradition, many restaurants and cafes all over the major cities in Iran are open until sunrise serving a great variety of traditional meals and drinks. It’s a great unique experience to enjoy a tasty Persian stew at 3 AM!
The Qadr Nights:
Ramadan is a celebration and a joyous month for Muslims but from the 19th until the 23rd of Ramadan, Muslims mostly engage in nightlong prayers gathering in mosques or halls as they believe these were the days in history that the holy Quran was revealed to Muhammad the Prophet of Islam. It also coincides with grieving ceremonies for Imam Ali, the first of the Shia Muslims Imams. The huge prayer get togethers, some that even go over hundreds and thousands are an incredible sight to view for any tourist planning to visit Iran in Ramadan. Visitors should only keep in mind that the 21st of Ramadan is a public holiday in Iran and usually also the 19th and 23rd dates are days where many public attractions and shopping centers are closed.
The month of Ramadan ends in a famous Islamic celebration all over the world known as “Eid-al-Fitr. On this day all over Iran mass early morning open air prayers are held and the public celebrate the ending of the fasting month by enjoying sweets and tasty breakfasts after the prayers. Tourists visiting Iran can visit the main mosques of every city in Iran at around 7 AM on this day to view the perfectly organized mass prayers. The Eid-al-Fitr and the next day are public holidays in Iran.
The Iranians enjoy a vast variety of meals that are mostly enjoyed during the month of Ramadan. The famous of these dishes are a sweet porridge made from wheat and shredded turkey known as “Haleem”. The famous “Ash” stews especially the thick noodle type named “Ash-e-Reshteh. Special Deserts such as “Halva”, “Shol-e-Zard” and sugary “Zubliya-Bamieh”. These lovely dishes and sweets alongside walnut and pistachio filled dates, complete a rich Persian platter that can be enjoyed mostly in the month of Ramadan by all tourists not sure on what to eat during Ramadan in Iran.
The month of Ramadan is a great time to visit Iran and to dive into a great historic aspect of the Islamic-Persian culture of the country. Celebrations, Iftar meal ceremonies, prayer masses are wonderful to partake and view in Iran during this month. Tourists have not to worry on getting a meal or a drink during the day in most cities of Iran and we only encourage that visitors take a bite in a less crowded area but even then, there is nothing to worry. Another positive point for tourists planning to travel to Iran in Ramadan is cheaper accommodation rates and less crowded tourist attractions. Ramadan is a unique and wonderful time to visit Iran.