News ID: 117356
Published: 0302 GMT May 05, 2015

Footprints of poetry in Iranian lives

Footprints of poetry in  Iranian lives

If you travel to Iran, you will certainly be amazed by the number of Iranians who visit the tombs of their poets. You see how they respect and show love for the ones buried in these places.

You find out the passion and affection in their manners and treatment of the tombs.

Based on what I’ve heard from international travelers for years, this is rare in the other parts of the world.


Schooling system


As children, Iranian students begin to learn poems and even memorize them in the early years of primary schools. They get familiar with the rhyme and different styles of poetry. They learn about the famous Iranian poets. Persian literature is full of distinguished styles.

Many of the textbooks they study are written in Middle Persian, the language used in Iran some 1,400 years ago. Although the language has gone through lots of changes, it’s still understandable.

During high school, students study more complicated Persian literature and particularly poetry. This continues in the universities, regardless of what you study, reported.


Life and times


A lot of Persian expressions are in the form of poetry.

Persian poems are rich in subjects like love, modesty, wisdom, appreciation of creation and Nature. Therefore, there are several occasions coming our ways in which one remembers some Persian sayings.

For centuries, those who knew such expressions and used them in certain situations were considered the educated ones. In some other cases, one may even recite some lines of poem.

There’s no Iranian home without Persian poetry books. People continue reading poems outside schooling system, too.

Before the time of equinox and the advent of the Iranian New Year (Norouz), during Yalda Night (the ceremonies for the longest night of the year – Dec. 20), and many other occasions, Iranians read poems.

Iranian traditional music is full of classical Iranian poems. Some Iranian poets are well known for their musical poems. Some of them have powerful soothing effect.

Some make you very happy and some are deeply sad and full of emotions. In various states of heart, Iranians can listen to various types of music.

The eloquent Persian language is also used in journalism. Sometimes the headlines as well as the news articles you read are embellished with poetic expressions and references to particular poems.

Some of these poetic expressions refer to another story or group of people with particular mindset and belief. Therefore, understanding Iranian poems, music, stories, news articles, etc. could be quite complicated, but not very much for a nation who is brought up with it.


World-class poets


Iran has offered some of the most famous poets to the world literature. They represent a nation with profound culture and thoughtful ideas.

Ferdowsi is the Iranian poet of 1,000 years ago. He composed the most famous Iranian poetry book called Shahnameh (Grand Book). This was an unparalleled effort to save the Persian language at a time when Arab invaders forced Iranians not to speak, write or compose anything in Persian. His epic works set nationalistic feelings ablaze in Iranians hearts.

Omar Khayyam was a well-known mathematician and poet who lived some 900 years ago. His short poems are full of maxims about life and joy.

Sa'di was a man of traveling who lived some 800 years ago. He had studied in Nizamia University, Baghdad. He returned to his homeland toward the end of his life and soon gained large popularity due to his lovable poems, which are highly appreciated worldwide.

The following famous poem by Sa’di decorates the UN building:

Human beings are members of a whole,

In creation of one essence and soul.

If one member is afflicted with pain,

Other members uneasy will remain.

If you have no sympathy for human pain,

The name of human you cannot retain.

Rumi was the unique Iranian poet of 700 years ago. His rhythmic poems describe Iranian traditional systems of music. His words of wisdom, spiritual and love poems are still quoted by Persian-speaking people.

His book became the bestselling book of late 20th century in the US and his poems’ recordings made their way to the billboard’s top 20 list.

Hafez was the master of Persian ghazals and still is after 700 years. The figurative language, description of love and beautiful language of spiritual values are uniquely adorable.

In addition to such famous poets, there are a large number of other poets who are quite well liked by Iranians, although non-Iranians may not have heard of them.


Visiting ritual of Persian poets


When Iranian go to the tombs of poets, they treat them like a lost loved family member. They place flowers on their tombstones. Sometimes, they wash the tomb with rosewater. They sit down and pray for the dead poet. They talk to them and ask them to talk back with them.

They bring the poet’s book with them to read or recite some of their poems to stay connected with them. Such tombs are inside beautiful gardens, not among other graves in a cemetery.

The decoration of the settings around it and the monument built for them are part of the whole honor dedicated to them.


Int'l reputation


Every year, several commemorative ceremonies and conferences are held for the above poets and others in Iran. Many people specialized in studying these poets’ works come together to discuss various dimensions of their characters and works.

Days have been named after such poets and non-Iranians understand the importance of such men of wisdom in the development of human knowledge.

Therefore, when you visit Iran, make sure you have a deeper look at the settings in which Iranians go to such tombs and grasp the feelings and appreciation of these gems of Persian literature.



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