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Food culture

Dinner table and Iranian food culture

You might find some eating habits specifically just in Iran, not in any other country. Actually Iranian eating and drinking behaviors are patterned after traditional Iranian or oriental medicine. And recently it turned out that according yoga positions even the way Iranians sit and eat their food is healthy. For those who have never been in Iran, I should explain that Iranians usually eat their food sitting on the floor around a piece of cloth.

These tablecloths or sofreh (the word we use across the country) are usually from Iranian fabrics such as calico or multi-colored cloths. We spread this tablecloth (sofreh) to all direction from the center of the carpet and then arrange the dishes on it. The family members sit all around it and have the portions of the meal next to one another. In recent years, using plastic tablecloths (sofreh) have become common as well.

Iranian food culture

Iranian food culture

Why we chose sitting on the floor?!

Although you can hardly find a house without dinner table and chairs across the country, it is quite normal to meet families who sit and eat on the floor despite having table & chairs at home. Especially when they are hosting a large number of family members for special events like family gathering, Ramadan , pagosha etc. Iranian food culture 

Nowadays the reason we sit on the floor is having small houses and big familial parties. These parties are big because every single time a family hosts over 20 people in a night. However, 50 years ago having a dining table at home was not common. At that time everybody were used to sit on the floor and eat. Besides, this was a usual way of gathering all members of a family and having fun together. Iranian food culture 

Another reason was due to Islamic culture. Islam has apparently admired sitting on the floor during mealtime. As a result, Iranians liked the idea and kept it as an eating habit until 1925. That’s the year Reza Shah started social reforms during his reign which ultimately laying the foundation of a modern Iran. 

When sitting around the table got more common?

Since that time, purchasing furniture started and people gradually accepted it. However, having and using furniture in Persia has a long history. The very first trace of applying or making chairs was found in Petroglyph  of Elamite period excavated from Susa. Centuries later, in the 11th century CE, we can observe very beautiful chairs remained from Safavid monarchy. Having said that, buying tables, chairs and in all, furniture amongst ordinary people in Iran became common from Pahlavi era. Iranian food culture 

Dinner table and Iranian food culture
Dinner table and Iranian food culture

Back to the point we were discussing about; recently it turns out that not only eating on the floor is not savagery, but also it highly contributes to easily and fast digest as it is one of yoga positions!

In the pictures above you can see both, families who eat at the table as well as those who prefer to sit around a tablecloth. Iranian food culture 

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