Iranian Cultural Training – Lesson 1: the Art of Humility

The Nights of Barareh Compilation

I often find myself explaining Persian cultural traditions to my Israeli friends and those from other countries.

The importance of humility in Persian culture is one of them. To show greatness, you have to show utter humility. This is why in Persian we have such popular expressions as:

I am the soil at your feet (bande Khak-e pay shoma hastam)

I am your servant (man nokar-e shoma hastam)

I would sacrifice myself for you (Ghorboon-e shoma beram)

Your steps on my eye (Ghadam-e shoma rooy cheshmam) use this when inviting someone to your house…

and more extreme examples:

I want to be the cat at your table (Mikham Gorb-e sofre-ye shoma besham)

Give me your socks so that I can make dolmeh with them (joorab kohnehato bede ta bahashoon bara khodam dolme dorost konam).

and many more….
So remember next time you meet an Iranian, to show greatness you have to say how little you are…(listening to Ahmadinejad you wouldn’t know it, but its true).

There are of course some who use such flattery to simply suck up…This is what we call Pach-e Khari in Persian. It literally means scratching someone else’s leg (the front shin area). This is the polite persian equivalent to “kissing someone’s behind”.

Why use this example? well, imagine someone scratching your shin…aaah that relaxing, pleasurable feeling…so the theory goes…

This expression gained much popularity after its use in the hugely popular Shabhay-e Barareh (nights of Barareh) series, shown around 2007 in Iran. Its one of my all time favorites. The character Jan Nesar (one who is willing to give his life for others literally made a living out of this art).

Anyway, I am going to stop now and hand you over to the one and only master of Iranian cultural training, the hilarious Omid Jalili…this is an absolute must watch

Take it away Omid