About Farsi (Persian)
By Ashkan Bayatpour
Persians shake hands more often than Americans. Every "hello" or "goodbye" is accompanied by a brief handshake. In parties, it is customary to kiss each other on the cheeks. Persians tend to be more polite than many other cultures. They tend to stand when someone enters a room in order to acknowledge their arrival and properly greet them. Also, they have many phrases that are recited in certain situations to show extra politeness. For example, when entering a car, if you are sitting in the front seat, it is customary for you to turn to the people in the back and say "I apologize for turning my back to you." This kind of extreme politeness is part of the Persian reputation dating back even before the time of invasion of Alexander the Great of Persia.
In Iran, grade school begins at the age of six. The first stage of education is called koodakestan (elementary school). This period lasts five years. After that, the Rahnamaee (middle school) stage begins and lasts three years. This stage is considered preparation for high school. The Nazari (high school) period is four years long. At the end of high school, students must take a national exam in order to graduate and receive their diploma. Schools are segregated between boys and girls all the way through high school. Colleges, however, are co-ed. Schools' grading systems in Iran are on a scale of 1 to 20.
Ferdowsi (حکیم ابوالقاسم فردوسی توسی) is one of the greatest Persian poets. The “Shahnameh” ( شاهنامه) is his most important and widely-read work. The “Shahnameh” (The Book of Kings) is the story of Persian kings, heroes and myths. This epic was composed nearly three centuries after the invasion of Persia by the Arabs. During this period, Persian culture and language were influenced by Arabic culture and language. Ferdowsi composed the epic in Persian. It took him almost thirty years to complete the book. The “Shahnameh” is considered to be a national treasure since it has contributed greatly to preserving both Persian language and culture.
Persian architecture has a long history. The ancient historical "Takht-e Jamshid" (known as Persopolis in the West) in Shiraz and "Tagh-e Bostan" in Kermanshah and Choga Zanbil in Shush are some of the most famous examples of pre-Islamic architecture in Iran.
During the Islamic area, which began after the Arab invasion in 651 A.D., Persian architecture developed new forms. "Chehel Sotan" in Isfahan, "Goharshad" mosque in Mashad, and "Bazar-e Vakil" in Shiraz are important examples of this later architecture.
Iranians have been very innovative in adapting architectural design to meet the requirements of Iran's diverse climate and geography.
Currently, houses and government buildings in many big cities show the influence of modern architecture and represent a mixture of Eastern and Western styles.
Days of the Week in Iran
In Iran, the week begins on Saturday following the weekend which is on Friday. Like many Islamic countries, Iran recognizes the last day of the week, Friday, as a holiday. On this day, the ceremony of Namaz-e Jom'e (Friday prayer) takes place. Recently, some private companies and institutions have increased the weekend to two days. These offices are closed on both Thursdays and Fridays.