The gracious hospitality of Iranians

girl hat smilingIt is possible for tourists to visit Iran and if they do, they will find most Iranians to be very warm and friendly.

The authorities and morality police may attempt to squelch your joy, but the overwhelming hospitality of the people you meet will more than compensate.

It is not important that you know few if any Iranians personally. You have only to ask for directions or smile and say hello to someone on the street. They will take you home, feed you in an elegant and generous fashion for the rest of the day, and you will be friends for life.

Iranians are trained and prepared for this from childhood onward. It makes no difference if their cupboard is bare. They will be able, with no advance warning, to serve up a delightful and refreshing meal.

If you can manage to slip into a shop on the way and buy flowers or pastries for the hostess, all the better. When you enter the house, slide off your shoes. Shake hands with everyone in the room. They will rise to greet you and if another guest comes in after you, you will rise to greet that person as well.

Platters of delicious food will be offered again and again. At first you may gently demur. But when they insist, give in and enjoy every morsel your hosts offer you. The food will be colorful, it will be presented in an artistic manner, and the dishes themselves will shine and sparkle. Your host will pour endless cups of tea, kept warm on the family samovar.

You must not even think of leaving early. If you do, you will miss out on enjoyable conversations, walks in the park, and perhaps even a musical recital.

Why do Iranians extend such warm hospitality, even to strangers? The old Persian proverb says it all: “Guests are friends of God.”


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