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Greetings in the Persian Culture

Greetings are very important in the Iranian culture. Family members and colleagues always greet each other when they meet. It is also very important to greet people before you start talking to them. Greeting in the Persian culture is almost a ritual and it might take longer than it does in Western societies. During a family or a formal gathering, it is common to see the same two people asking each other how they are more than once. This is a form of acknowledging the person's presence and letting them know that you care.

Just starting talking to someone before greeting them is considered rude. Using plural pronouns (e.g., plural you) and plural forms of verbs to refer to individuals, especially elders, is a sign of respect and is used in formal and semi-formal situations. This is like referring to someone you respect as they, and say things like, They are here meaning that he or she is here. Friends use singular pronouns and verbs to refer to each other. Farsi does not have gender which means that there is no distinction between he and she. This is in fact a source of confusion for Farsi speakers learning a language like English which has this distinction.