Want to know more about Ramadan in Iran 2020 – read on here.
The holy month of Ramadan has a special place in Iranian and Persian culture. Muslims believe God (which Iranians call Allah or Khoda) began revealing the Holy Quran to Prophet Muhammad (as) in Ramadan.
Knowing this background, Ramadan and its traditions are held in high regard by practicing Muslims and respected by other people of different religions in the country.
Holy month of Ramadan in Iran
Ramadan started on April 24 in Iran (in 2020) and is expected to end on May 23, but the date may vary depending on the sighting of the crescent moon, which heralds the beginning of the next Arabic calendar month.
Both domestic and international tourism in Iran is low during Ramadan (especially in 2020 due to coronavirus). In normal times hotels, which are mostly empty, offer big discounts to draw occupants.
During non-pandemic times people are guaranteed to grab an affordable room in a quality hotel or boutique guest house.
Also, if you’re thinking of traveling around Iran, domestic airfares are usually cheaper this time of year.
The atmosphere in cities often change with the start of Ramadan. Streets and shops are covered with colourful lights and floral patterns.
People (particularly older generation) greet one another by saying “Ramadzan Mubarak”, which means “Happy Ramadan”.
The reason for fasting during Ramadan is for people to understand the hardship endured by the poor; as such, people are expected to go about their daily lives as normal — albeit at a slower and reduced schedule.
Iftar- Sofre Eftar
People who fast eat twice every day: Once in the early morning (Sahari) before dawn (Fajr) Prayer, and once in the evening (Iftar) after sunset (Maghrib) Prayer.
Fasting takes places between Sahari and Iftar. No eating is allowed public during fasting hours (sunrise to sunset), so those who don’t fast (including non-Muslims) can only indulge themselves in private.
During Ramadan, most restaurants are closed during fasting hours but they will be soon open after Iftar. However, an increasing number of food establishments do remain open during daylight hours offering food — usually cold dishes.
A small but growing number of places also offer cooked foods during fasting hours, however, they are infrequent. You may also be able to buy ready-made foods from supermarkets and corner shops.
A variety of foods and pastries are served during Ramadan months, however, limited opening hours are currently upon us due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
One of the most popular foods during Iftar is “Osh”. It is a sort of thick lentil soup and has different types; the most common ones being ash-e-reshteh and ash-e sholeh qalamkar.
Ash-e-reshteh is vegetarian-friendly and it contains vegetable, beans and a type of noodle. Ash-e sholeh qalamkar, however, has meat and is a bit spicy.While these two are staples during Ramadan, every region also offers their own type of ash, so be sure to try them!
If you have a sweet tooth, you’re in luck! Two types of very sweet, deep-fried pastry called Zulbia and Bamieh are wildly popular during Ramadan. Like other foods mentioned so far, they’re available throughout the year but they are in a particularly high demand at this of the year.
Also, no Iftar table is complete without a plateful of dates, especially Mazafati or Bam dates. They’re nutritious and tasty, and most importantly, you have probably never tasted it before.
Rituals related to Ramadan are mostly practiced by Shia Muslims in Iran.
Ceremonies (Ahya or vigil) are held in mosques across the country on the 19th and 23rd of Ramadan.
The 19th is a sad day for Muslims, for it was on this day over 1,300 years ago that Imam Ali, the first Shia imam (fourth for Sunnis) was struck with a sword at suffered grave wound that would take his life two days later.
The 23rd marks “Shab-e-Qadr”, or the “Night of Decree”, according to Shias. They believe the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the prophet on this day. Sunnis believe the Shab-e-Qadr falls on the 27th of Ramadan. Muslims believe that God forgives all sins on this day if the person repents.
A key part of the holy month is the sighting of the moon. As mentioned earlier, moon sighting is essential to knowing when the month ends and Fitr celebrations (more on the below) can begin. Observance of the crescent moon at the end of the Islamic month of Sha’ban is also integral to knowing when Ramadan begins.
Eid al-Fitr (or Eyd-e Fetr in Farsi) marks the end of Ramadan and beginning of Shawwal. It is a joyous occasion celebrated by all Muslims regardless of their sect. Many Iranian go to their local mosques to perform communal prayers, while others celebrate it at home with their families.
Some also go to the streets and distribute cookies, pastries and juice. If you’re offered anything, it’s nice to accept!
Eid-e Fitr Prayers in Tehran
Traditionally, huge crowds of people perform Fitr Prayers, however, this year it is unlikely due to the ongoing coronavirus situation.
The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar which lasts 354 days—11 days shorter than solar calendar. In other words, the Islamic calendar shifts every year with respect to a tropical year. So make sure to check your calendar before making travel plans.