Taaroof in Our Iranian Culture

It is extremely hard for many of us Iranian to accept No as an answer. It is even harder for us to say No, when we really mean No.

We have to say Yes to things that we do not like. We say Yes because it is (sometimes) bad to say No in our Iranian culture. For sure we have many situations in our culture that has one answer only: “No”.

Still, we Iranian have a deep tradition of making Taaroof, a notion that can be defined culturally, socially, politically, and even developmentally. If we have a guest in our home we have to offer them food, drink, and entertainment. One great aspect of our offer is due to our hospitality. We Iranian like to share food. It is in our tradition and our values that we have to invite people to come over for food. However, we tend to judge one another based on the amount or level of our Taaroof.

Why do we make Taaroof? The core topic as Taaroof is a multidimensional part of our Iranian life style and Iranian culture. I guess we will never be able to analyze this phenomenon in-depth. Taaroof of is a complicated, contextual, and learned behavior that only we Iranian know its elements.

Basically Taaroof means making an offer that is based on not taking no for an answer. Persuasion is mainly involved in our Taaroof production.

Sometimes Taaroof make us to follow a double standard. From one side we do not want something, but on the other hand we have to pretend to like things or people. We are constantly making offers. We ask people around us to do what we are asking them to do, whether it is about eating more food or from staying more after party is over.

We have to stop this behaviour. It is not healthy ,it has never been. No should mean No, in every situation. Do not make fake Taaroof. We do not have to make Taaroof at all. Only if we really like to do so and if we really mean it. On the other hand we should give people the freedom to say No, once they do not like our offers. Wow, we are complicated.

Poran Poregbal

Vancouver, B.C.

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