Photos: The 28th International Book Fair kicked off in Tehran!

The event started on Wednesday May 6, in a 120,000 square meter venue at Tehran’s Grand Mosalla, and will continue until May 16, 2015.

Over 2800 publishers from Iran and 65 other countries have presented their latest publications at the fair. 300,000 Iranian books and 160,000 non-Iranian books were presented this year. The foreign publishers substantially offer their materials in English or Arabic however titles in French, German, Chinese, Korean or Japanese are also available.

Millions of visitors inspect the fair every year, including thousands of university students, scholars and families. It is currently the most significant cultural event in Iran as well as one of the most significant events of its kind in Asia and the Middle East. Heads of international book fairs from Oman, this year’s special guest, Paris, Bologna, Moscow, and other places are attending the 28th edition of TIBF.

Hundreds of cultural projects are carried out during the event as sidelines activities, including book review sessions, face-to-face meetings with Iranian authors, lecture sessions, and writing workshops.

Monday May 11, 2015 has been designated as Day of Africa  at the 28th TIBF. To mark the day, African exhibitors will hold an array of cultural programs. As part of the programs, a panel discussion will be staged in the TIBF section of Men of Letters’ House on existing cultural exchanges between Iran and African nations, sponsored by friendship associations established among Iran and a number of African nations, namely Nigeria, Tunisia, Uganda, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Comoros.

The works of illustrators participating at the 52nd Bologna International Children Book Fair will be displayed in an exhibition titled “Tehran-Bologna 2015”. According to IBNA (Iran’s Book News Agency), the illustrations which participated in the latest Bologna Children Book Fair as well as the illustrations by Roger Mellow, the winner of 2014 Hans Christian Anderson Award, will be showcased. Moreover, the works of the Iranian illustrators whose works have participated in the editions of Bologna Fair during the last 10 years are going to be put on public display in this event.

Tehran Metro and the public bus service boosted their cooperation during the 28th TIBF to facilitate the transportation of the visitors. Extra trains are being used and the arrival times of the trains is also reduced to 5 minutes at the weekends. The subway is deploying its maximum manpower particularly at the Beheshti and Mosalla stations, said Mohsen Nayebi, Head of Tehran urban and suburban Railway Operation Company. Public buses, dedicated particularly to transportation of the Book Fair visitors, are plying between the venue and the city’s main squares.

Sources: TIBF on Instagram, TIBF Official Site | News 1, TIBF Official Site | News 2, Tasnim News Agency| Tehran International Book Fair, Press TV | Tehran International Book Fair, irib.ir | Photogalleries, Tehran Municipality | News 1, Tehran Municipality | News 2,Expo Road | Tehran International Book Fair, Mehr News Agency | Photos by H. Razaqnejad , Tasnim News | Photos by M. Hassanzadeh, IRNA | Photos 1IRNA | Photos 2, ISNA | Photos by A. Khosroshahi

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The Tehran Graphic Design Week 2015 started!

The Tehran Graphic Design Week 2015 started on April 26 at the Iranian Artists Forum (IAF) as tens of graphic art enthusiasts demonstrated support for the event by gathering outside the venue under the slogan “Graphic Art Needs Promotion”.

“Graphic designs are with us wherever we go. From the moment we wake up, graphic designs are before us telling us what to wear and what is attractive,” said graphics expert Akbar Alemi, a member on the selection committee and the ceremony host.

The head of Iran Graphic Designers Society (IGDS) Ali Rashidi said the extensive world of graphics can offer more than posters and logos and called for Iran to advance in all areas of this pragmatic form of art, Mehr News Agency reported. He took note of “motion graphics and economics of art” as two key areas of IGDS focus this year, and said “this society aims to promote non-still (non-print) graphics.”

French graphic designer Ruedi Baur, who was a guest invitee, said “motion graphics cannot be defined as they are out of our control”. Australian designer Ken Cato opposing the view, stated that motion graphics “even defines throwing up your business card up in the air,” and to prove a point, he did just that.

An introduction to motion graphics and its applications on DVDs was unveiled by Mahdi Mahdian, secretary of the event.

In addition to the two international guest invitees, a number of renowned figures attended the function, including graphic designers Ghobad Shiva, Majid Balouch, Amrollah Farhadi, Mostafa Asadollahi, typography designer Masoud Sepehr, and calligrapher Bahram Kalhornia.

The Tehran Graphic Design Week usually kicks off every year around the World Graphic Design Day which is on April 27. The Tehran Beautification Organization, Contemporary Art (Honar Moaser) Publications and Sepia Co. cooperated with IGDS running the event.

According to Mehdi Mahdian the works exhibited were selected by a committee composed of Akbar Alami, Bahram Azimi, Reza Alavi, Mehrdad Sheikhan and Amir Mohammad Dehetani.

Tehran Graphic Design Week 2015 features various programs such as commemoration of a veteran artist and exhibition of works by two international graphic designers. The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art displays works by graphic designers Rudie Baur from France and Ken Cato from Australia in separate exhibitions.

Tehran Graphic Design Week 2015 runs for one week in the Iranian Artists’ Forum located on Musavi St., off Taleqani Ave, Tehran.

Program (in Persian): Iranian Graphic Design Society | Graphic Design Week 20015 – Program

Sources: Culture and Heritage National Agency, Tavoos Online, Tehran Times, ISNA | Photos

Iran’s Razavi Khorasan Province: Mashhad’s Spring Flower Festival (photo gallery)

Each year, the city of Mashhad celebrates spring with a Flower Festival. More than eight million bulbous flowers (e.g. tulips) are being planted in parks and streets and can be enjoyed until mid-May.

Razavi Khorasan, Iran - Mashhad - MapMashhad (Persian: مشهد‎) with 3.150.000 inhabitants is the second most populous city in Iran and capital of Razavi Khorasan Province. It is located in the northeast of the country, close to the borders of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. It was a major oasis along the ancient Silk Road connecting with Merv in the East.

Every year, millions of pilgrims visit the Imam Reza shrine. Mashhad is also known as the city of Ferdowsi, the Iranian poet of Shahnameh, which is considered to be the national epic of Iran.

The city is located in the valley of the Kashaf River near Turkmenistan, between the two mountain ranges of Binalood and Hezar-masjed. The city benefits from the proximity of the mountains, having cool winters, pleasant springs, mild summers, and beautiful autumns. It is only about 250km (160 mi) away from Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

Long a center of secular and religious learning, Mashhad has been a center for the arts and for the sciences. The Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, the Madrassa of Ayatollah Al-Khoei, originally built in the seventeenth century, and the Razavi University of Islamic Sciences, founded in 1984, are located here.

Mashhad is also home to one of the oldest libraries of the Middle-East with a history of over six centuries. The Astan-e Quds Razavi Museum, which is part of the Astan-e Quds Razavi Complex, is home to over 70,000 rare manuscripts from various historical eras. There are some six million historical documents in the foundation’s central library.

Apart from Imam Reza shrine, there are a number of large parks, the tombs of historical celebrities in nearby Tus and Nishapur, the tomb of Nadir Shah, Kooh Sangi park and the Koohestan Park-e-Shadi Complex.

Some points of interest lie outside the city: the tomb of Khajeh Morad, the tomb of Khajeh Rabi’ where there are some inscriptions by the renowned Safavid calligrapher Reza Abbasi and the tomb of Khajeh Abasalt. In Tus, 24km away from Mashhad, is the tomb of Ferdowsi. The summer resorts at Torghabeh, Torogh, Akhlamad, Zoshk and Shandiz are also nearby.

The Shah Public Bath, built during the Safavid era in 1648, is an outstanding example of the architecture of that period. It was recently restored, and is to be turned into a museum.

Other articles about Razavi Khorasan Province: The other Iran | Razavi Khorasan Province

Sources: IRNA | Photos, Wikipedia | Mashhad, Tasnim News Agency | Photos

Photo gallery: Sizdah Be-dar – The Iranian national picnic day

Sizdah Be-Dar (also romanized as Sizdahbedar and Sizdah Bedar, frequently stylized as “13 Bedar”) (Persian: سیزده به در‎, literally: 13th in outdoors) is a festival in the Iranian culture, and part of the Nowruz new year celebration rituals, held on the 13th of Farvardin (the 1st month of the Iranian calendar), during which people spend time picnicking outdoors.

Sizdah Bedar is the day Tir (The Blessed day) of the month Farvardin from ancient Persian (Iranian) calendar, which was the first day of agricultural activity in ancient Persia. Be-dar in Persian means going out. In this day Iranians go to have fun with their families all the day long.

Sizdeh Bedar is celebrated in Iraq, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Central Asia, and elsewhere. An increasing number of participants are taking part in the holiday. In cities like Los Angeles with large populations of Iranians, a growing number of parks are set up by the city to accommodate the large number of people.

Sources:
Wikipedia | Sizdah Be-dar, Mehr News Agency | Photos 1, Mehr News Agency | Photos 2, IRNA | Photos 1, IRNA | Photos 2, IRNA | Photos 3, IRNA | Photos 4

New Year’s dreams – What do Iranians wish for this year that just started?

The start of a new year is associated with dreams and new things we would like to achieve.

Iranians wrote down what they wish of this New Year and were photographed holding their written wishes and an element of the haft sin. Enjoy the photo gallery!

Click on a photo and see the translation of all the wishes:

Learn more about the Iranian New Year (Nowruz), its traditions and food: http://theotheriran.com/tag/nowruz/

Sources: Mehr News Agency | Photos

Photo gallery: Nowruz – Iranian New Year Food and Sweets

The main dish for Nowruz is Sabzi Polow Mahi (Sabzi Polow = Rice with fresh herbs, Mahi = Fish). In addition you have Kookoo/Kuku Sabzi (an Iranian Frittata made of fresh herbs and optionally barberries and walnuts). Besides this you have all kinds of sweets, some of them are depicted below:

Sources:

Tumeric and Saffron 1, 2, 3My persian kitchen 1, 2, Persian mama, Iran review, Bottom of the pot

Nowruz – The Iranian New Year

Nowruz (meaning Now=new and ruz=day “The New Day”) is the name of the Iranian New Year. It marks the first day of spring or Equinox and the beginning of the year in the Persian calendar and is officially registered on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Nowruz is celebrated by people from diverse ethnic communities and religious backgrounds for thousands of years. It is a secular holiday for most celebrants that is enjoyed by people of several different faiths, but remains a holy day for Zoroastrians. It originated in Persia in one of the capitals of the Achaemenid empire in Persis in Iran and is also celebrated by the cultural region that came under Iranian influence.

Countries that have Nowruz as a public holiday include the following: Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, India, Iran, Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan), Kazakhstan, Mongolia (regional state holiday only), Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Nowruz traditions
Spring cleaning
, or Khouneh Tekouni (literally means ‘shaking the house’) or ‘complete cleaning of the house’ is commonly performed before Nowruz. Persians and Kurdish and Lure Kurdish, Azerbaijanis, and start preparing for the Nowruz with a major spring-cleaning of their houses, the purchase of new clothes to wear for the new year and the purchase of flowers (in particular the hyacinth and the tulip are popular and conspicuous).

In association with the “rebirth of nature”, extensive spring-cleaning is a national tradition observed by almost every household in Iran. This is also extended to personal attire, and it is customary to buy at least one set of new clothes. On the New Year’s Day, families dress in their new clothes and start the twelve-day celebrations by visiting the elders of their family, then the rest of their family and finally their friends. On the thirteenth day families leave their homes and picnic outdoors, as part of the Sizdah Be-dar ceremony.

During the Nowruz holidays, people are expected to visit one another (mostly limited to families, friends and neighbors) in the form of short house visits, which are usually reciprocated. Typically, on the first day of Nowruz, family members gather around the table, with the Haft Sīn on the table or set next to it, and await the exact moment of the arrival of the spring. At that time gifts are exchanged. Later in the day, the first house visits are paid to the most senior family members. Typically, the youth will visit the elders first, and the elders return their visit later. When in previous year, a family member is deceased, the tradition is to visit that family first (among the elders). The visits naturally have to be relatively short, otherwise one will not be able to visit everybody on their list. A typical visit is around 30 minutes, where you often run into other visiting relatives and friends who happen to be paying a visit to the same house at that time. Because of the house visits, you make sure you have a sufficient supply of pastry, cookies, fresh and dried fruits and special nuts on hand, as you typically serve your visitors with these items with tea or sherbet.

Click a photo and browse to the gallery to see the different elements of the Haft-Sin and their symbolic meaning:

Haft Sīn (Haft=seven Sin=S “The seven ‘S’s”) is a major traditional table setting of Nowruz. The Haft Sīn items are:

  • Sabzeh – wheat, barley or lentil sprouts growing in a dish – symbolizing green environment, happiness and rebirth.
  • Samanu – a sweet pudding made from germinated wheat – symbolizing affluence.
  • Senjed – the dried fruit of the oleaster tree – symbolizing firmness and tolerance.
  • Sīr – garlic – symbolizing health.
  • Sīb – apples – symbolizing beauty and love.
  • Somaq – sumac berries –symbolizing patience.
  • Serkeh – vinegar – symbolizing development and evolution.

Other symbolic items can be:

  • Sekkeh – Coins – representing wealth
  • Lit candles – enlightenment and sunrise.
  • a Mirror – symbolizing cleanliness and honesty
  • Decorated eggs, sometimes one for each member of the family – fertility
  • A bowl of water with goldfish – life within life, and the sign of Pisces which the sun is leaving. As an essential object of the Nowruz table, the goldfish is also “very ancient and meaningful” and with Zoroastrian connection.
  • Rosewater – purity and cleanness.
  • The national colours – for a patriotic touch
  • A holy book (e.g., the Avesta, Qur’an or Kitáb-i-Aqdas) and/or a poetry book (almost always either the Shahnameh or the Divan of Hafiz)

Sources: wikipedia | Nowruz, Tumeric & Saffron 1, 2