Presenting our first video for Nowruz 1391!

It’s almost time for Norooz, the most important holiday in the Iranian culture. This holiday marks the beginning of the Persian calendar and occurs every year at the exact moment that spring starts. This video goes through some of the vocabulary associated with the Persian New Year, called Nowruz. Also, for the first time, see Matt and Leyla in action! As always, PLEASE ENJOY.

R.I.P. Legendary Designer Bijan

The legendary Beverly Hills designer known simply as Bijan died today at the age of 67. He owned what was known as 'the most expensive store in the world' on Beverly Hills drive, a store open by appointment only. In his many years as a fashion designer in the United States, designed clothes for some of the most powerful men in the world (including Barack Obama and several other sitting presidents).

Kayhan Kalhor and His Beautiful Compositions

If you listened to lesson six, you heard our exercise of counting from one through ten set to some beautiful rhythmic background music. The background music was composed by none other than Kayhan Kalhor, a world renowned Persian classical musician, specializing in the Persian instrument, kamanche.

Elizabeth Taylor in Iran

Elizabeth Taylor was as much an iconic figure in Iran as she was everywhere else in the world. During the Shah's time especially, she was revered as the prime example of beauty and elegance. She was also a bold figure unafraid of pushing boundaries and breaking stereotypes. To this end, she went on a spontaneous journey to Iran with a young photographer named Firooz Zahedi in 1976. Having recently graduated with a degree in art, Zahedi accompanied Taylor through several cities in Iran, including Persepolis, Shiraz, and Esfahan, photographing their adventure along the way.

'Tarof' on This American Life

One of the most important traditions in Iranian culture is the tradition of ‘Tarof.’ Tarof can be described as a specific form of Iranian etiquette or politeness, and comes with a very specific set of rules of how to interact with other people. Sometimes it can be extremely frustrating and seem disingenuous, but at other times, it provides a nice framework of how to interact with other people in an extremely polite and respectful way. A good example of tarof is that when you visit someone’s house, they must offer you something to eat or drink.

A Delicious Persian New Year Dish

Najmieh Batmanglij made a guest appearance on the Martha Stewart Show to share a recipe for a homemade meal of lamb shanks made with rice and fava beans (baghali polo). Batmanglij has been the most influential voice for Persian cooking (or as the Washington Post put it “the guru of Persian Cuisine”) for the past 30 years.

Happy Norooz to all!

It’s almost time for Norooz, the most important holiday in the Iranian culture. This holiday marks the beginning of the Persian calendar and occurs every year at the exact moment that spring starts. This year, it will occur on March 20, 2011 at exactly 6:21 central time in the United States, and the corresponding times around the world. It occurs at the same moment everywhere on earth, at the exact moment the earth enters the vernal equinox.

Our Theme Music

So many people have written us asking about our wonderful theme music. It’s a great little piece, an original composition by Fared Shafinury, one of the most talented musicians in the Iranian community. You can check out his music on his webpage. He will be providing more music for the podcast in the future, and is releasing his first full length album sometime this year. We will keep you posted!

Why ‘Persian’, Not ‘Farsi’?

There is an ongoing debate in the Iranian and academic communities as to whether you should use ‘Persian’ or ‘Farsi’ to refer to the language in English. It’s not a simple issue of To-may-to vs. To-mah-to: the reasons for using the term ‘Persian’ when speaking in English are based on history and precedent.

Salaam, Welcome to the site!

Welcome to Learn Persian with Chai and Conversation, the podcast for anyone trying to learn conversational Persian.

With Chai and Conversation you will be learning conversational Persian in weekly lessons of about 15 minutes each.  If you’ve been trying to learn Persian, you will have noticed that there is a such a lack of effective learning materials, especially if your goal is to learn informal Persian.  The point of this podcast is to teach you Persian in a fun and casual manner so that you can quickly begin using it in conversation.