Iranian folklore

Iranian folklore, including jokes, folktales, games, folklore heroes and beliefs, is sophisticated and complex.

Talisman for warding off co-wife, undated. Harvard Library



"Dāstān" in Persian means "fable, fiction, story, tale". The genre to which they refer may go back to ancient Iran. It was a widely popular and folkloric form of story-telling: Dastan-tellers (narrators) tend to tell their tile in coffee houses. They told tales of heroic romance and adventure, stories about gallant princes and their encounters with evil kings, enemy champions, demons, magicians,Jinns, divine creatures, tricky Robin Hood-like persons (called ayyārs), and beautiful princesses who might be human or of the Pari ("fairy") race.

Oral legends and tales


Folklore games

Physical games
  • Amo Zangirbaff (Uncle chain-weaver)
  • Attal Mattal Totuleh
  • Ghayyem Moshak
  • Gorgam be Hava
  • Alak Dolak
  • Ye Ghol Do Ghol
  • Bikh divari
  • Ghapp bazi "knucklebone Playing"
  • Khar polis "Donkey-Cop"
  • Aftaab Mahtab "Sunshine Moonlight"
  • Laylay or Ganiyeh [19]
folklore Card games
folklore Verbal games
  • Moshereh (Poetry Game):Every side has to answer the other side with a poem beginning with the last word of the previous poem (Compare with Urdu Mushaira).
  • Ye Morgh Darm ("I have a hen" game)
other folklore games

Traditional ceremonies

folklore Nowruz traditional characters
folklore religious ceremonies
other folklore traditions

Characters in jokes

A depiction of Molla Nasr al din


Cheshm Nazar
Mirror and Candles in Iranian Wedding Ceremony

Music, Dance and Performing Arts

Main article: Persian dance

See also

Further reading


  1. Encyclopedia Iranica, "SAMAK-E ʿAYYĀR" by Marina Gaillard
  2. Encyclopaedia Iranica (article by M. Omidsalar)
  3. "Ya'qub-i Laith Saffari". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
  4. Download the book in Persian
  5. tarsusi]
  6. HANAWAY, WILLIAM L. "ĀBĀN DOKHT". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
  7. Dastan-e Amir Hamzah or Amir Hamza, extended version
  8. The Adventures Of Amir Hamza
  9. HANAWAY, WILLIAM L. "ESKANDAR-NĀMA". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
  10. Yūsofī, Ḡolām-Ḥosayn. "ČEHEL ṬŪṬĪ". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
  11. Davis, Richard. "Greece ix. Greek and Persian Romances". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2015-09-07.
  12. T. Hägg and B. Utas, The Virgin and her Lover: Fragments of an Ancient Greek Novel and a Persian Epic Poem (Leiden: Brill, 2003).
  13. Omidsalar, Mahmoud. "ČELLA In Persian Folklore". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2011-12-21.
  14. The placenta was cut and immediately it was poked with a pin or a needle to frighten bad spirits such as ‘Al’. These spirits were closely associated with death of the baby or the mother or anything else that could go wrong at this time. Zoroastrians believed in a number of such dark spirits attacking the mother and the newborn and ‘Al’ resembles the ancient spirits .
  15. see also Persian Wikipedia page about Bakhtak
  16. Omidsalar, Mahmoud. "DĪV". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2011-04-22.
  17. Omidsalar, Mahmoud and Teresa P. "ḠUL". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2011-04-22.
  18. See also Persian Wikipedia page about Zaar ritual in Iran
  19. Iranian folklore games ( In Persian)
  20. How to play Hokm
  21. Encyclopedia Iranica, "CARD GAMES(ganjafa-bāzī, waraq-bāzī)" by Mahdi Roschanzamir
  22. Ganjafa(In Persian)
  23. About Âs Nas
  24. Jacoby,Morehead, Oswald,Albert. "poker Origin and spread". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2008-01-18.:
    Poker is virtually indistinguishable from an older Persian game called as nas, a four-hand game played with a 20-card pack, five cards dealt to each player. This coincidence led some students of games to call poker a derivative of as nas, but this theory has been discredited.
  25. Krasnowolska, Anna. "KUSA". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2009-03-19.
  26. HITCHINS, KEITH. "Part v. KURDISH (SUNNI)". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2009-03-19.
  27. 1 2 OMIDSALAR, MAHMOUD. "DIVINATION". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  28. Chelkowski, Peter. "THE PASSION (TA'ZIA) OF HOSAYN". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2008-01-18.
  29. Calmard, J. "'AZAÚDAÚRÈ". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2008-01-18.
  30. MARZOLPH, ULRICH. "FOLKLORE STUDIES". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2008-01-18.:
    "As a result, some topics, especially those of religious relevance (such as the Ta'zieh; see Homayun, 1989; Idem, 1976; Idem, 1998; cf. Waklian, 1991) are prioritized"
  31. Orsatti, Paola. "ḴOSROW O ŠIRIN". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
  32. C.-H. de Fouchécour, “Nâz o niyâz, ou l’amour et l’Orient,” Luqmân 5/2, 1989, pp. 77-86
  33. Serving different kinds of pastry and nuts known as Ajîleh Moshkel Goshâ (lit. The problem-solving nuts) is the Chahârshanbe Sûrî way of giving thanks for the previous year's health and happiness, while exchanging any remaining paleness and evil for the warmth and vibrancy of the fire.
  34. دنیای مجازی یا فاجعه مجازی در ایران - قاشق زنی، آجيل مشکل گشا، پريدن از روی آتش، فالگوش ايستادن
  35. M.Moin:A Persian Dictionary, 3rd edition, Page 4752(In Persian)
  36. 1 2 Šakūrzāda, Omidsalar, Ebrāhīm ,Mahmoud. "ČAŠM-ZAḴM". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
  37. اسفند Great Islamic Encyclopedia (In Persian)
  38. Omidsalar, Mahmoud. "SOFRA". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved November 15, 2006.
  39. "Quran in Iranian traditions (In Persian)". Retrieved 2011-03-12.
  40. 1 2 HABIBI, FARANGUIS. "SYNGUÉ SABUR: PIERRE DE PATIENCE". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
  42. HANAWAY, WILLIAM L. "DĀSTĀN-SARĀʾĪ (storytelling)". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2009-01-25.

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