Read this article if by any chance, your trip to Iran coincides with Nowruz, the New Year.
You may be alarmed a lot about traveling in Nowruz because it is the high season for local tourism when half the country is on the road and the hotels and tourist spots are full. But if you plan in time and manage the challenges, you will have a unique experience that is never any other time of year available in Iran.
In Iran, people use the Persian calendar, a more precise way of counting time than the Western Gregorian. In this calendar, New Year’s Day coincides with the spring equinox on March 21. Nowruz is an ancient festival in the Persian world originating from Zoroastrianism that constantly continued to the current time; even the new religion and invasions were not able to remove it.
Like all the festivals associated with the beginning of spring, Nowruz has to do with the arrival of good weather and the rebirth of life after a long winter. For 13 days from March 21, the country disguises itself into Nowruz, the largest and most important Iranian holiday. It is celebrated by traveling to see relatives and organizing feasts with them. Besides gas, oil and caviar, if the Iranians have anything in abundance, it is hospitality and Nowruz is the time to put it into practice.
How does Nowruz affect your visit as a tourist? The biggest obstacle is that the hotels are full and with higher prices than the rest of the year. Public transportation is something that you have to think about before since other than the ones who hit the roads on their own vehicle, many others use public transport. You have to book early or you won’t find anything. Another difficulty is that during Nowruz which is an official holiday, the bazaars and other monuments are full of Iranians for them it is the best time of year.
What is the positive part of visiting Iran in Nowruz? If you finally decide to travel during Nowruz, you will find a very happy, cheerful and colorful Iran, as you would never have imagined. Floods of national tourists are everywhere visiting and photographing the ruins of Persepolis, mosques, mausoleums and museums. The shops advertise their products loudly excited with such a large number of potential customers.
In every corner, you see performances by mostly men groups. In some streets, you will bump into Haji Firouz, a character dressed in red, with a smudged face and a tambourine in hand who, jumping and dancing, announces the arrival of Nowruz.
The party atmosphere is perceived in every corner. For 13 days, the cities are filled with families dressed in their best clothes, buying everything and enjoying the restaurants and cafes. The squares, gardens and roadsides are filled with families picnicking on rugs spread out everywhere. Iranians are great fans of lunch boxes and picnics.
The festive atmosphere will rub off on you and you will enjoy a colorful Iran like you can’t see at any other time of the year: it’s worth it.