What is Taarof in Iranian culture?
What is Taarof in Iranian culture? Every culture has its own special traits, terms and behavior. Iranian culture is one of those systems that will surprise you with its almost too weird, but lovely traits. One of them is “Taarof ”. Never heard of? Normally the answer must be “no”! because Tarof is ultimately Iranian and only an Iranian knows how to use it.
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#1 What is Taarof ?
Taarof is either of these two situations:
1) an offer or request made by someone, but he or she doesn’t really mean it!
2) when someone rejects a request made by someone else, but he or she doesn’t really mean to reject the request!
Well, Iranians are not so direct and not very to the point, so you need to be an expert to be able to distinguish between a Taarof situation and a serious one.
#2 Let’s review some examples of Taarof in Iranian culture:
Taarof examples No 1:
You are in a taxi in Iran and you want to pay your bill. The driver says: let it stay! You will be confused because you want to pay and he doesn’t want to get the money. But this is only a Taarof! This is a sign of respect for you, although weird and foolish! What you need to do is to insist on paying the money, and after two or three times of Taarof’ing, he will take the money!
Taarof examples No 2:
You are visiting a site and a typical Iranian tourist-lover sees you. After talking to you and asking you a lot of questions, he or she starts to Taarof and wants you to go home with them to have lunch! This might not be a real Taarof in some cases, but mostly this is a Taarof . You should not accept and thank them for being so nice to invite you to their houses. Although, if you accept their invitation it possibly could make them really happy.
What needs to be said at the end is that, Taarof is not a totally foolish and unnecessary trait of Iranians. It is a sign of respect and most importantly a sign of being considerate. For example, if you have no money and can’t pay the taxi, a Tarof is the most desirable thing the driver can offer to you!
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