Lighthearted in Tehran with The Sound of Iranian Nomads

Madi Jahangir – The woman was doing his routine activities. Massaging the dough, expanding it on a small tray and putting it in the oil to fry. She was doing it all inside a small tent made of a type of thick textile that probably she had woven by her own hands: “This bread is so delicious, you will eat a lot and it will make you fat!” While putting another dough in the hot oil she laughed and continued: “We cook this type of bread in Semnan for Iranian new year eve. See! We don’t bake it, we fry it!” In front of her tent there was a queue of random people to buy her bread. She would give them some bread for free to taste too.  It was written on her tent: Nomads of Semnan!

Being a nomad means you never settle. Nomads keep moving for different reasons and in various styles. Some move for hunting, some move based on the change in the weather and some just in the search of a better place to live. Many nations were at first nomadic but by time they settled along the rivers and the places with more natural resources. That’s the way the first cities were  founded in ancient times. Kings and rulers of the old Persia used to have a summer and a winter palace which they would relocate to based  on the arrival of warm or cold seasons. The nomadic life remained from that ancient tradition until now. Even though the modern life has effected the life of Iranian nomads too, but they still try to keep their traditions alive. Now instead of horses or other animals to carry their tents, they use cars. They have television, sometimes fridge and other stuff of a household. But they dance too, they eat healthy and they do not count the calories of the food every 5 minutes like urban girls. The physical work is often enough hard and time consuming to keep their bodies in good condition. Their face skin is smooth for being away from air pollution and chemical products.

Nomads are used to this life style to carry their house with themselves but this time they did not move for the sake of  the usual reasons that nomads do. Around 100 Iranian nomad tribes took their time to bring their ‘Voice’ to Tehran and share part of their daily activities and culture with the citizens in capital under “The voice of Iranian Nomad festival”.  Tehranis who are often lost in the traffic and crowd of the mega city had the chance this time to stay away from the stressful urban life for some hours and enjoy a carefree day in the serene life of the light-hearted Iranian nomads. 

There was whatever you wanted available to cheer you up. From beautiful music to traditional dancing and mouthwatering local food which were cooked and served just fresh from the pots in front of the tents. There was also a fair of handicraft and clothing in the Persian Gulf salon of Tehran’s international fairground. For the first time in my life, i watched live dancing of the Balouch and Lor tribes. I cheered with people for the skillful Azeri dancers and took pictures of passing by Iranian Arabs walking in their long white outfit. Pretty Gilak and Shahsavan girls were everywhere with their colorful skirts dancing in the air and the Bakhtiaris were riding their horses decorated with beautiful textiles. With all the different cultures which were presented in the festival, I was amazed with all my fellow citizens who are very much united under one Iran flag. With all the varieties they were laughing and dancing together.

When the sun was going down, the number of visitors were increasing. But my nomadic journey had already ended. I had checked every spot, tasted most types of food, desserts and fruit rolls. I had even let the Hormozgani girl draw some Henna artworks on my hand. A day among Iranian tribes was an amazing day! With the ‘Voice’ of the nomads, i was again connected to the breeze of the countryside and the lyrics of the mother nature. My day was not quite without technology though as i was holding my camera while wandering between the tents and stalls like the nomads and taking photo. But i bit my piece of oily bread without even counting the calories; Lighthearted  like the way happy and carefree nomad girls in the tents did. 

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