IRAN-2010-975-300x200What To Bring To A Persian Wedding (and Persian Wedding Parties)

It took me three years to realize that gift giving is almost mandatory when visiting an Iranian home.

From the first time I ever met my future mother-in-law to the last time I saw her a few weeks ago, there is always, 100% of the time, a gift waiting for me when I arrive. Always. Sometimes it’s chocolates or perfume beautifully wrapped up. Other times, it is a lovely designer purse.

But gift-giving isn’t unique to my dear mother-in-law. It’s typical in Iranian culture. In Iranian culture, guests, friends and family are dearly treasured and loved, and highlighting and reinforcing that love for one another in every imaginable way is common among Iranians. Parties, frequent gatherings, signs and tokens of respect, and, of course, gifts are normal.

So bringing a gift is customary. It isn’t mandatory, exactly, but it would be like arriving in Court without your shoes or shirt. It’s simply not done.

The gifts need not be expensive! And you’ll nearly always find yourself receiving gifts in return.

But you need to understand the core meaning of the practice. The exchange is not intended to be a requirement or a burden; it is intended to be a sign of respect, honor, love and gratitude from giver to receiver.

The key is for the gift to be thoughtful, considerate and symbolic. Of what? Respect, well-wishing and loving-kindness, these are truly gifts of love and should be thought of only in that way.

What are typical gifts? A small box of chocolates. Fruit in a basket. A small basket of flowers. Sweets (especially Persian sweets). Persian tea. Dried fruits…

From Chapter 6 of The Persian Wedding Book by Christen Flack Behzadi.

More about Persian party traditions is available in the Persian Wedding Book at Amazon.com.

What To Bring To A Persian Wedding (and Persian Wedding Parties)

It took me three years to realize that gift giving is almost mandatory when visiting an Iranian home.

From the first time I ever met my future mother-in-law to the last time I saw her a few weeks ago, there is always, 100% of the time, a gift waiting for me when I arrive. Always. Sometimes it’s chocolates or perfume beautifully wrapped up. Other times, it is a lovely designer purse.

But gift-giving isn’t unique to my dear mother-in-law. It’s typical in Iranian culture. In Iranian culture, guests, friends and family are dearly treasured and loved, and highlighting and reinforcing that love for one another in every imaginable way is common among Iranians. Parties, frequent gatherings, signs and tokens of respect, and, of course, gifts are normal.

So bringing a gift is customary. It isn’t mandatory, exactly, but it would be like arriving in Court without your shoes or shirt. It’s simply not done.

The gifts need not be expensive! And you’ll nearly always find yourself receiving gifts in return.

But you need to understand the core meaning of the practice. The exchange is not intended to be a requirement or a burden; it is intended to be a sign of respect, honor, love and gratitude from giver to receiver.

The key is for the gift to be thoughtful, considerate and symbolic. Of what? Respect, well-wishing and loving-kindness, these are truly gifts of love and should be thought of only in that way.

What are typical gifts? A small box of chocolates. Fruit in a basket. A small basket of flowers. Sweets (especially Persian sweets). Persian tea. Dried fruits…

From Chapter 6 of The Persian Wedding Book by Christen Flack Behzadi.

More about Persian party traditions is available in the Persian Wedding Book at Amazon.com.