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name Iran is derived from the Proto-Iranian word aryana, which means "land
of Aryans." Persia, the country's former name comes from the ancient Greeks,
who called the region such.
WARNING: International disputes
with Iran are ongoing, please read this
travel warning before going!
The way of life in Iran is quite varied as the country is incredibly diverse and
always has been. As a large country with many differing landscapes and geographic
boundaries, the country is home to numerous ethnic groups, cultures, and peoples.
Although not everyone in the country is Muslim, Islam is the largest consistency
across the people. The government is also a "theocracy," which enforces
Sharia (or Islamic) Law, which means the government's legal system and laws
are based on Muslim beliefs and teachings; everyone, no matter their religion, is
held to these laws and expectations, including visitors.
The flag of Iran is on a green, white,
and red base; the green stands for Islam and growth, the white represents honesty
and peace, and the red symbolizes bravery and martyrdom. In the center of the flag
is the national emblem, which is the word "Allah" in the shape of a tulip,
a symbol of martyrdom. The phrase Allah Akbar, meaning "God is Great"
is also written in the transition between green and white and again between the
red and white.
Name: Islamic Republic of Iran
Independence: April 1, 1979
Population: 79,853,900 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Persian, Azeri, Kurd, & others
Language: Persian (Farsi)
Religion: Shi'a Muslim
The government and Sharia Law determine many aspects of life in Iran as these laws
dictate what the people can eat, how they can act, and even what they can or cannot
say. Even the people that don't agree with this system must obey these rules
as they are laws, so the entire base of Iran's daily life is the Islamic faith.
Beyond the restrictions of the laws, there is more to the culture and way of life
in Iran, from a long history that created new foods, dress, and languages to the
differing ethnic groups. Plus, today there is a growing divide between the younger
and older generations, both of who have very different visions of the future.
Differing ethnic groups tend to have foods, dress, and customs that differ from
that of the majority and these differences are generally accepted by the government.
These minority groups also tend to be in more rural areas so tend to have more jobs
in agriculture and a heavier reliance on the land and other natural resources. The
country's majority, the ethnic Persians, tend to be more urbanized and also
control most aspects of the government and economy based on both power as well as
the fact that they are the majority.
The second huge difference in lifestyle comes between the younger and older generations.
Much of the older generation supports, or at least doesn't protest, the current
government, but the younger generation tends to see a different future. The youth
tend to want a more liberal government and more freedom in numerous social realms.
They also tend to be getting more educated as urbanization is occurring and the
youth tend to see a future with a new government and a future based on economic
progress as opposed to being based on religion.
Although today the older generation tends to live in a similar manner as they have
in the past, the younger generation is becoming more urbanized and more reliant
on technology. The youth also have a growing lack of trust in the government and
it seems every election the youth protest the results, which they believe have been
rigged. Technological changes in recent years have also improved communication among
the people, adding pressure to the present state of affairs. As one of the youngest
countries in the world, numerous changes to the culture and way of life in Iran
is imminent, it's just a question of when and how these changes are made.
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