Yalda Night

The devil has fallen and the light is born

Every year, on December 21, the last day of Azar in Persian calendar, Iranians around the world celebrate the arrival of winter which is the longest night of the year. Yalda, one the most ancient Persian festivals, also called Zayeshmehr or Shab-e Cheheleh all meaning the ”night of birth”, is a symbol of the defeated darkness by light and the birth of Mithra (the goddess of light). Yalda night celebration dates back to the ancient times when the majority of Persians were followers of Zoroastrianism.

On this night, family members and friends get together. Traditionally, they gather around a ”Korsi” which is a low square table covered by a blanket with a heater placed under the table. Usually, families stay in the house of the eldest in the family and stay awake all night, eat fruits, nuts and sweets.

Reciting from the poems of Hafez (Hafez-Khani) and old mythologies is another special Yalda related tradition that has been passed down through the years.

Watermelon is served as one of the main traditions of Yalda night. Ancient Persians believed that those who begin winter by eating summer fruits would not fall ill all through the cold winter. Pomegranates with angelica powder are also served on this night as reminders of the cycle of the life. The purple covering around a pomegranate symbolizes birth (or dawn), and the red glowing seeds the glow of life.

Yalda Night is also celebrated in countries such as Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and some Caucasian states such as Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Yalda night celebration is an opportunity to rejoice in the company of our beloveds.

Events

Yalda under the Korsi of Chaharbagh 2018
Celebrate the last days of fall
19 December– 21 December 2018


Volunteering and its Surprising advantages


With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering are enormous to you, your family, and your community. The right match can help you to reduce stress, find friends, reach out to the community, learn new skills, and even advance your career. Giving to others can also help protect your mental and physical health.

For your own benefits, help make Isfahan a better place for travelers

Why volunteer?

Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community, but the benefits can be even greater for you, the volunteer. Volunteering and helping others can help you reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose. While it’s true that the more you volunteer, the more benefits you’ll experience, volunteering doesn’t have to involve a long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of your busy day. Giving in even simple ways can help others those in need and improve your health and happiness.

Volunteering: The happiness effect

Benefits of volunteering: 3 ways to feel healthier and happier

  1. Volunteering connects you to others
    • Make new friends and contacts
    • Increase your social and relationship skills
  2. Volunteering is good for your mind and body
    • Volunteering helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety
    • Volunteering combats depression
    • Volunteering makes you happy
    • Volunteering increases self-confidence
    • Volunteering provides a sense of purpose
    • Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy
    • Volunteering can advance your career
    • Teaching you valuable job skills
    • Gaining career experience
  3. Finding the Right Career
    • Volunteering brings fun and fulfillment to your life

Tips for getting started

First, ask yourself if there is something specific you want to do.

For example, do I want…

…to make it better around where I live
…to meet people who are different from me
…to try something new
…to do something with my spare time
…to see a different way of life and new places
…to have a go at the type of work I might want to do as a full-time job
…to do more with my interests and hobbies
…to do something I’m good at

The best way to volunteer is to match your personality and interests. Having answers to these questions will help you narrow down your search.

How to find the right volunteer opportunity

There are numerous volunteer opportunities available. The key is to find a volunteer position that you would enjoy and are capable of doing. It’s also important to make sure that your commitment matches the organization’s needs. Ask yourself the following:

  • Would you like to work with humans, or remotely from home?
  • Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a team?
  • Are you better behind the scenes or do you prefer to take a more visible role?
  • How much time are you willing to commit?
  • What skills can you bring to a volunteer job?
  • What causes are important to you?

Consider several volunteer possibilities

Don’t limit yourself to just one organization or one specific type of job. Sometimes an opportunity looks great on paper, but the reality is quite different. Try to visit different organizations and get a feel for what they are like and if you click with other staff and volunteers.

How much time should you volunteer?

Volunteering doesn’t have to take over your life to be beneficial. In fact, research shows that just two to three hours per week, or about 100 hours a year, can confer the most benefits—to both you and your chosen cause. The important thing is to volunteer only the amount of time that feels comfortable to you. Volunteering should feel like a fun and rewarding hobby, not another chore on your to-do list.

Getting the most out of volunteering

You’re donating your valuable time, so it’s important that you enjoy and benefit from your volunteering. To make sure that your volunteer position is a good fit:

Ask questions. You want to make sure that the experience is right for your skills, your goals, and the time you want to spend. Sample questions to your volunteer coordinator might address your time commitment, if there’s any training involved, who you will be working with, and what to do if you have questions during your experience.

Make sure you know what’s expected. You should be comfortable with the organization and understand the time commitment. Consider starting small so that you don’t over commit yourself at first. Give yourself some flexibility to change your focus if needed.

Don’t be afraid to make a change. Don’t force yourself into a bad fit or feel compelled to stick with a volunteer role you dislike. Talk to the organization about changing your focus or look for a different organization that’s a better fit.

If volunteering overseas, choose carefully. Some volunteer programs abroad can cause more harm than good if they take much-needed paying jobs away from local workers. Look for volunteer opportunities with reputable organizations.

Enjoy yourself. The best volunteer experiences benefit both the volunteer and the organization. If you’re not enjoying yourself, ask yourself why. Is it the tasks you’re performing? The people you’re working with? Or are you uncomfortable simply because the situation is new and familiar? Pinpointing what’s bothering you can help you decide how to proceed.

Source: helpguide.org

Apply for Volunteer Positions

Positions:

  1. Content Creator
  2. Social Media Content Creator
  3. Photographer
  4. Tourism Expert

Requirements:

  • Advanced Level of English
  • Communication skills
  • Interest in tourism industry
  • Ability to work as a team member

Contact us for declaration via: social@isfahaninfo.com


From Paris to Isfahan (Raid Orion Revival)

Raid Orion Revival

Champs Elysees St, Paris, 1972. More than 100 motorcyclists left Paris for a 7,000-kilometer journey to Isfahan, Iran. “Raid Orion” was the name they choose for this amazing trip. They went through winding roads, crossing cities and countries. Passing by eye-catching sights along the way, they eventually reached Isfahan, the most beautiful city in Iran.

Troubled relationships caused Raid Orion to be gradually forgotten between the two countries. After 45 years, however the journey is revived under the name ROR (Raid Orion Revival) which successfully welcomed participants from the two countries as well as countries along the route. The tour of 2018 started in Champs Elysees Street in July 15th, riding over 7,000 kilometers in 20 days, finally ending up in Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Isfahan in August 4th. The trip included 25 French and Swiss motorcyclists. The team was accompanied by a group of medical and technical specialists for contingencies along the long-distance route. The media reflection of this journey excited 120 motor boaters to announce their desire for the next year’s rally. This year’s trip started off from Paris and continued through the common France-Germany border. The countries along the route are as follows:

Paris – Northeast France – Germany – Austria – Hungary – Romania – Bulgaria – Turkey – Iran

The team arrived in Iran from the Bazargan border and reached Isfahan after passing through the cities of Tabriz, Rasht and Tehran.

Just arrived at Naqsh-e Jahan Square after 20 days of road ride

According to Mr. Hanaei, one of the directors of the tour, due to the type and nature of the tour, the popularity of the Motor Vehicles team was very impressive and exciting. Mr. Hanaei said the lack of classified tourism information is one of the problems of the tourism industry in Iran, adding that the ROR motorcyclist’s team is expected to be well informed about the tourist attractions of the cities on the route so that the team can make best use of their journey. He added that some tourist attractions are known in various cities, but the number of attractions in Iran is far beyond what is known worldwide. He said the promotion of all attractions should be one of the top priorities of the tourism industry. Mr. Hanaei pointed out that foreign tourists face a lot of questions and ambiguities before entering Iran due to media propaganda, but after experiencing a trip to Iran, they are eager to visit again. The ROR riders received beautiful enamel craft of Isfahan as a lasting gift from the executive team at the Abbasid Hotel in Isfahan.

Happy crew

 

Raid Orion Photo Gallery

Earth Day and Tourism

Earth Day (April 22nd) and Tourism

In the words of environmental activist and actor Leonardo Dicaprio, “Climate change is real. It is happening right now, it is the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.”

The environment is a top global priority that can be supported through ethical tourism. Travellers without a home base may not have the option to make common green consumer purchasing decisions such as using LED light bulbs, driving hybrid cars or using solar powered energy systems in their homes. Yet, there are numerous small changes that travellers may make to shift the way they travel that will, in turn, minimise their carbon footprints while making a long-lasting positive impact on the earth.

This Earth Day, April 22nd, challenge yourself to make these adjustments to your travel routine that will enrich your experiences, support a socially conscious lifestyle and benefit Mother Nature.

9 Ways Travelers Can Help the Earth Right Now

1. Plastic is one of the biggest demons preventing us from protecting our planet.

Earth simply cannot digest plastic. If you haven’t already switched from purchasing plastic water bottles daily to using a reusable water bottle (preferably glass) then now is the time to finally quit plastic for good. If you’re nervous about the quality and cleanliness of the available filtered water or tap water in the destinations you visit then you may want to invest in the innovative Lifestraw, which transforms contaminated water into potable water. Other ways to reduce your plastic consumption is to opt for reusable utensils and straws to carry with you. Make sure to specify that you do not need your meal to include plastic cutlery when you order takeaway meals. Bring a reusable cloth bag to use whenever you go shopping and visit countries such as France, Italy, Morocco and India who are among countries at the forefront of banning the use of plastic bags, plates and/or cutlery. Not convinced yet? Here is a shocking fact, for every living creature in the ocean, there is six pieces of plastic also in the sea.

2. Eco-friendly accommodation options are becoming mainstream and are widely available across all budgets.

Look for lodges, hotels, guesthouses and hostels that explain what makes their property green and feel free to vet the authenticity before booking by emailing over questions. Any truly ethical property will be happy to confirm their eco-commitments. Ask about what programs they have in place to be more energy efficient. This may be through LED lighting or solar powered energy. Do they conserve water and have the option to switch on and off hot water? Do they use low-flow toilets? Inquire about their recycling policies and if there is the option to reuse towels and bedding rather than have fresh linens provided daily.

3. Be mindful whenever booking and taking transportation.

You likely are already aware that buses and trains make less of a negative impact on the environment than airplanes or cars. However, flying is often the only option for transcontinental travel. Most airlines will offer users the chance to offset carbon emissions from air travel through a minimal extra fee. When you arrive on location at your destination and have the choice between taking public transportation or a private taxi, choose the greener option whenever possible. When visiting developing countries you may even have the chance to take bicycle rickshaws which are the most eco-friendly option or rent a bicycle to explore your surroundings yourself. In countries like India opt for ride share apps like Ola or Uber over auto rickshaws as they have stronger regulations for their damaging emissions.

4. Book immersive and impactful travel experiences

that support local communities that are committed to helping the planet, fighting climate change and other environmental visit.org allows users to travel the globe by cause and has a map of hundreds of experiences that benefit the environment. Travelers can learn about bio-farming in Georgia, partake in eco-friendly cacao harvesting in Thailand, stay in an eco-cottage and discover local sanitation projects in India, plant trees in South Africa, go on an urban bike tour in Colombia or a nature trek in the Greek Islands. These are just some of the available experiences for travelers who are eager to advocate and fund mindful initiatives around the world through educational travel activities.

5. Swap out your chargers for a renewable source such as the WakaWaka solar lamp and charger.

These are perfect for travelers who are visiting destinations off the beaten path that may not have consistent electricity. An added bonus is that for every WakaWaka sold a solar light is donated to a family that does not have reliable access to light or electricity.

6. Be mindful of your water consumption and take shorter showers.

Not only is this routine better for your skin, as long showers are ultra drying, but you’ll also be using less precious water. To be extra sustainable with your bathroom habits turn off the water flow while you soap up your hair, body and brush your teeth then only turn it back on when you are ready to rinse off.

7. Switch Off lights and unplug devices

This tip should be a mindless habit by now but make sure to always unplug devices and switch off the lights when you are leaving a room. If there is a hot water switch for the shower, make sure to turn it off whenever you are not bathing.

8. Carry over your recycling practice that you routinely follow at home to your travels.

Separate your plastics, paper, glass and metals. Inquire about where you can start a small compost pile for your natural waste. If your accommodation doesn’t offer the option to recycle try to find out where the local facilities are or give your sorted trash directly to collectors that you may see gathering the materials from the street.

9. Rather than purchasing 100 ml carry-on sized liquids you can opt to use reusable bottles and refill with your favourite products from home.

Better yet choose products that avoid plastic altogether such as Lush shampoo bars. One bar can last up to 80 washes, making it more eco-friendly and more friendly on your luggage allowance too!

Source: tourismconcern.org.uk/9-ways-travellers-can-help-earth-right-now/
By: Lola Mendez

Lola Méndez is a full-time traveler sharing her adventures on Miss Filatelista as she adds to her collection of passport stamps. She travels to develop her own worldview and has explored 46 countries (up to written this post). Passionate about sustainable travel she seeks out ethical experiences that benefit local communities. You can follow her on facebook.com/missfilatelista and instagram.com/missfilatelista/

Iran Dress Code

The myth of the black chador!

Iran keeps surprising visitors by its myriad of attractions for lovers of history, culture, nature, arts and food. The country is more back-packer, hitchhiker, female-solo-traveler, Jewish friendly than its main-stream media representations. So, if your idea of Iranian women is a pair of eyes showing through the all-covering black piece of fabric, you might need to turn off your TV and read this post till the end to get better understanding about dress code in Iran.

Although “Chador” (female full-body-length covering) is still common throughout Iran, it is not and has never been mandatory in Iran except for when visiting certain religious institutions.

Nice experience to cover with “Chador”

 

The unwritten rules of Iran’s dress code are actually far more liberal than the written ones. The dos and don’ts of Hijab are pretty clear.

Here’s a guide for men and women on how to dress in IRAN:

WOMEN

Head
Head covering is mandatory for ladies in public. The most common type of head covering is the headscarf “rousari/shawl”. The headscarf is to cover the hair and not the face. Your hair can show from the front/back of the headscarf but as a form of respect to the rules of the country, women tend to cover as much of the hair as possible. Some wrap the headscarf tightly and securely around the head, others wear it loosely… the choice is yours – try to find the most comfortable way that works you.

As far as color is concerned, there is almost no restriction; pink, blue, green, red, fluorescent orange…..! In fact you’ll be amazed by the variety of designs and colours of headscarfs available all across the country. The headscarf is also a form of fashion item amongst women in Iran – square, rectangular, big, small, silk, cotton … you name it!

Upper Body
Women in Iran wear long tunics “manto”. These are long sleeved dresses varying in length. Generally speaking it’s all about modesty – in Iran modesty is thought of a non-see-through material, closed collar, loosely fitted covering at least the buttocks. Three quarter length sleeves are also accessible.

Lower Body
Women in Iran do not show their legs in public. Long skirts or trousers are accessible. Trousers can be slim fit and/or ankle length … however remember the material should not be see-through. Cotton, Denim, Chinos…. again see what you feel most comfortable in!

Footwear
Stay comfortable 🙂 giving you’ll be sightseeing all day! Nothing particular to say here- your choice really. Trainers, high heels, sandals, boots….

MEN

Head
No head covering is required. You can wear hats of any form of shape desirable depending on the weather!

Upper Body
Men can wear long or short sleeve shirts and t-shirts. You cannot be topless in public and it is uncommon for men to wear vest like tops in public.

Lower Body
Long and cropped trousers are accessible. No shorts above the knees.

Footwear
As per above, just make sure your comfortable 🙂 nothing else to say here!

Find out what other Iran travelers choose to wear in Iran:

 

Understanding Isfahan

Understanding Iran