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18 Fascinating Things You NEVER Knew About Iran!

Mackenzie Freeman

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Iran is located in Western Asia and with more than 82 million people living in the region, the country is certainly important! Also known as Persia, Iran is known for a variety of different things. From the cultural impact of the ancient country to their modern-day royalty, there is much to learn about Iran. Today, we are going to do our best to showcase some of the most fascinating things you might never hard heard about the ancient country. Let’s dig in!

Youngest Population in the World

Did you know that Iran has one of the youngest populations in the entire world? It’s true! Nearly 70% of their population is under the age of 30. What makes this more impressive is the fact that the Iranian youth are extremely active politically due to the fact that voting begins at age 15. The youth movement has been changing Iran since 1997.

Masterfully Woven Rugs

Carpets in Iran aren’t just accessories to throw down in your home, they are pieces of art. Iranians have been crafting rugs for nearly 2,500 years. Throughout that period of time, Persian weavers have managed to become the best in the world at what they do. In fact, Persian rugs are so amazing that they are the second largest national export, right after oil, for Iran.

Birthplace of the Persian Cat

Do you feel like reaching through your screen in order to pet this fluffy kitty? We don’t blame you at all. The Persian Cat obviously calls Iran it’s home. First brought over by European traders in the 17th century, the Persian cat has become a status symbol for modern Persians. Persians have also become popular around the world.

Special Translations

If you translate Iran into Persian, the word roughly spells out, “Land of the Aryans”. While that definition has a different impact in the West than it does in Iran, it is still an interesting quirk. Initially, Iranians had used the phrase ‘Aryan’ as a form of an ethnic label, but it now is used as a reference to the people of Iran.

State Controlled National Internet

In order to make the internet more accessible for the population, the Iranian government launched its own state-controlled internet. This national service is known as an Intranet network. The internet is free to access, though it is heavily censored in order to stay Halal. If you want to visit social media websites in Iran, you’ll need to register for a VPN.

Fascinating Dining Norms

Dinner in Iran won’t be like dinner back home, no matter where you are from. In Iran, dining is typically done while seating on a cushion that is placed on the floor. Dining is typically done without utensils, as people opt instead to use their right hand. We could write an entire book on dining in Iran!

The Subtle Art of Taarof

Society in Iran is held together by polite conversations and humble actions. The combination of those two traits leads to the idea of Taarof, or the glue of Iranian conversation. Taarof can be translated as ‘meeting together’ in English. Taarof is all about treating your guests with respect, politeness, and sensitivity.

Numerous UNESCO Locations

UNESCO World Heritage sites are incredibly important for the history of our world. With that being said, Iran has an incredible 23 UNESCO sites within its borders. Due to the fact that the Persian civilization is one of the oldest known civilizations in the world, this kind of makes sense!

Largest Carpet in the World

Iran has one of the largest carpets in the world. When measured, the carpet in the Abu Dhabi mosque is nearly as large as a soccer field! While this carpet may not fly, it does have the notable distinction of being the largest carpet on the planet. The carpet was designed for the mosque in the UAE by the Iran Carpet Company in 2007.

Your Own Free Wedding

At one point in time, weddings in Iran were so cost-prohibitive that the country was struggling to stay married. In order to find a way around this problem, the Iranian government decided to put together a fund in order to help pay for the weddings celebrated by the people. Every year, more than $7 million is earmarked to support and encourage people to get married. They just have to attend a lecture on contraception before ordering their license.

Wealthy Culture in Tehran

If you strolled through the fancy streets of Tehran, you’d end up being blown away by what you saw. In Tehran, there is a culture of wealth that tends to mimic what you’d see in Western places like Beverly Hills. The Rich Kinds of Tehran are a group of wealthy kids who share their lives on social media platforms like Instagram. They throw absurdly large parties, flaunt their wealth, and look good while doing it.

Delicacies of Iran

If you ever get to go to Iran, make sure you buy caviar at one of your meals. Iran is known for exporting many wealthy commodities, but caviar, pistachios, saffron, and oil are at the top of the list. Iran controls half of the caviar market of the Caspian Sea, which means that you are going to pay a premium to order some!

Delicious Persian Milk

In Iran, yogurt is known as ‘Persian Milk’. Apparently, Persian Milk is so popular in Iran that it is used in almost every dish.  The people of Iran see yogurt as something of a miracle food which can be used to treat sunburn, ulcers, sleepiness, and old age.

Booming Heavy Metal Scene

The country of Iran has many restrictions that would seem unbearable when compared to Western countries. With that being said, subcultures like the heavy metal scene continue to flourish. If you go to a dive bar in Tehran on a Saturday night, you might find yourself listening to some trending new heavy metal. You probably won’t understand the words, but we bet you’ll get the message.

Amazing Literacy Turnaround

During the early 70s, the literacy rate in Iran was horrifically low. At just 37%, the majority of people living in Iran at the time could barely read! Knowing that this would be a problem, the government of Iran decided to focus on reforming their education system. By 2015, their literacy rate was 93 percent. As of last year, Iran’s literacy rate is now at 97%!

Prolific Soccer Stars

Spend a weekend in Iran and you’ll walk away with a lifelong appreciation for soccer. The Iranian people LOVE soccer, and they are always tied to what their national team is doing. Soccer is popular on both sides of the gender divide, though women do compete in hijab. 

Never Wear Ties

In the late 70s, a change of guard in the government led to a bizarre fashion adjustment for the people at large. In order to get away from ‘Western Sensibilities’, wearing a tie in public became not only frowned upon but also socially unacceptable. Even when attending to professional matters, Iranians will not wear ties.

Hotbed for Parkour

Long before Michael Scott made parkour famous on an episode of The Office, the military-style training was already put into place in Iran. Parkour, also shortened to PK, is a type of athletic activity that blends acrobatic movements with straightline intentions. Iran jumped onto the parkour bandwagon in the 90s and the movement has been spreading across the country ever since.

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Dog Survives Cancer By Wearing Outlandish Costumes

Leslie Tander

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Whenever dogs and cats get spayed or neutered, they have to wear the “cone of shame.” It’s that big uncomfortable plastic cone that keeps them from being able to bite at their stitches- which would be pretty messy and unpleasant for everyone. But, anyone who has ever had a pet in the cone of shame knows- they really hate it. Sometimes they try furiously to get out of it, and sometimes they just lay down and whine- but that ALWAYS hate it.

But we found one exceptional case of a golden retriever that actually seemed to enjoy his come. Rusty is a 9-year-old retriever who had a rare case of bladder cancer. Fortunately, Mary and Madeline are very proactive about Rusty’s health and take him in for checkups regularly. Rusty’s cancer was spotted and diagnosed early. That gave Mary and Madeline a lot of hope- but naturally, they were very worried about their furry pal. Rusty didn’t show any signs of illness, except for visible weakness in his left hind leg, which he would favor. This, it turned out to be caused by pain in his abdomen when he put weight on the leg.

After being diagnosed, he was scheduled quickly and put on a regimen of chemo. The surgery went well, but Rusty had to wear the cone, as well as having to be forced to take a long period of rest. Because Rusty is a very energetic character, his rest period had to be chemically enforced. Rusty had to take medicine to make him calm enough to get through his rest period.

But Rusty’s owners Mary and Madeline had an idea to help Rusty get through his recovery, as well as to help fund his medical bills. It was around Halloween, and the two started making creative costume designs out of Rusty’s cone of shame.

They first turned him into a martini with a toothpick and olives made from construction paper. Then they turned his cone into a shark’s head with teeth, eyes, and fins. Then they make him into a “shush puppy” with wadded up, colored packing paper and a straw made from a tube. At one point Rusty found himself transformed into a submarine with a hull and a domed window. He was made into a space alien, a bowling ball, a long list of cocktails, a ghost, and many other outlandish things.

Not surprisingly, Mary and Madeline took some heat from online communities for their creative use of Rusty’s cone. People said it was abusive. They said it was a waste of their time. And sometimes they said truly awful things because- well, this is the Internet. But Mary and Madeline could see that Rusty was having as much fun as they were- and the support, both emotionally and financially, was overwhelming.

Rusty loved the laughs and the attention he was getting and started to really get into his costumes. On top of that, Rusty developed a hearty following on Instagram as his costumes grew wilder and more imaginative.

Eventually, Rusty’s cone was removed and he made a full recovery. While some derided the use of his medical predicament as something to be made fun of, others could see that Rusty was having as much fun as his owners. But perhaps best of all, many other pet owners with pets donning the cone of shame have made a tradition out of dolling up their medically yoked pets.

As for Rusty, he’s somewhat of a pioneer, as well as a cancer survivor. And he still enjoys having creative costumes made for him even though he no longer has his cone for them to be built upon.

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6 Year Old Boy Stands Against Bullying With a Custom T-Shirt

Sherry Rucherman

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Bullying is a big problem in today’s schools. In fact, 20-30% of students admit to being bullied, and 70% of teachers and students say they have witnessed bullying. However, this isn’t the issue you would expect to be on a 6-year-old boy’s mind when he considers the first day of school. For Blake Rajahn of Georgia, this is exactly what was on his mind. He saw an opportunity to do something about it, and he took it.

Mom Asks a Simple Question

Blake’s mom, Nikki, had recently started her own business making personalized apparel and home goods. She told him he could choose a shirt with anything he wanted on it as a first day of school present. She expected him to ask for what most boys his age would, a cartoon character or a sports theme. What he said surprised her and made her extremely proud.

Nikki says she told Blake, “I will make him any shirt he would like. It could have anything- a basketball theme, football, etc. which are all his favorites”. 

A Heartwarming Yet Surprising Answer

Blake went far beyond Nikki’s expectations with his response. He replied, “Will you please make me a shirt that says ‘I will be your friend’ for all the kids who need a friend to know that I am here for them?”

Blake’s T-shirt was bright orange with “I will be your friend” in green block letters. While most kids just attempt to keep their head down and fit in, Blake chose to stand out as much as possible to spread his message of friendship and kindness. 

Social Media Popularity

Blake’s mom did what any proud parent would do, and posted a picture and the story behind it on Facebook. Her intention was simply to share the moment with those close to her. However, the post went viral. Soon she had others wanting the shirt as well.

Not Just Business as Usual

She states that she had many people ordering the same shirt or shirts with a similar positive message, with many including #blakesfriends in honor of Blake. Nikki sells the custom T-shirts for $15 each. She is also giving back to the local community.

A portion of each t-shirt sold goes to Real LIfe Center, a local church charity. The Real Life Center offers lots of help to needy families in the community, including food pantries, financial counseling, and senior programs.

She took things a step further as well, and allows people to donate money for shirts for those who want one but can’t afford them. It seems Blake seems to have learned about caring for others from the best place possible, his mom.

This heartwarming story is a great reminder that the youngest of us can sometimes teach the greatest lessons. It also shows that a small thing like a custom t-shirt can start a movement and create positive change in the world. 

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Sky Brown Looks to Catch Air at 2020 Olympics

Sherry Rucherman

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When you were 11, your biggest goals probably included climbing trees, playing Little League and eating ice cream. Sky Brown wants to win the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

Brown already landed her spot on Team Great Britain as a skateboarder. She’s determined to compete at as young an age as possible, to show other children that their age should not determine their abilities.

“I would like to go to the Olympics while I’m young — I don’t really wanna be 16 or something going to the Olympics [for the first time],” she told FanSided. “I wanna be young and show every girl that you can do it, just go for it — even though you’re little.”

Her mom hails from Japan, while her dad comes from Great Britain. Although her favorite skating spot is in Miyazaki City Skate Park in her hometown of Miyazaki, Japan, Brown chose to compete on the British Olympics team. 

It might seem wild to say chose, but Brown has her pick of teams since wowing the crowds and judges as the youngest female competitor in a Vans Pro tournament at the  2016 Vans US Open Pro Series. She was eight. Although she wiped out on a maneuver, she impressed coaches, commentators and judges with one commentator putting it mildly when he said, “She skates bigger than she is.”

Brown already leads an international lifestyle since she normally lives and trains in Japan, but competes in California, USA. She now trains with Team Great Britain. She’s competed professionally since the age of seven.

“I just love skateboarding. It’s my happy place,” Brown told CBS News. “Even if I fall or if I get hurt, that won’t stop me to do what I love.”

Until making the GB Olympic team, she did not have a coach. Her father initially taught her to skateboard and surf, but once she went pro, she’s been on her own. She learned to skateboard at age three, but since she was seven has taught herself from YouTube videos. Brown watches other skaters’ videos and after careful study, practices the moves and tricks until she perfects it.

Aside from her message to all youth that age does not impact your ability to make an impact, she also wants young women to know that you can be a female athlete and still love being what she refers to as a “girly-girl.” 

“I love makeup, dresses, jewelry. I want girls to know that they can be a girly-girl and do sports,” she said in an interview.

She took a short break from skating to prove that with her appearance on “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors.” Brown partnered with JT Church to win the initial season of DWTS: Juniors bringing home the mirror ball trophy as the youngest contestants in the DWTS history.

She might be one of the youngest feminists inspiring young women today. Brown says that in her native Japan, many girls eschew sports. As a lover of skateboarding, surfing, makeup and dresses, she wants girls of all ages to understand that choosing athletics does not mean giving up traditionally feminine things.

“In Japan, there are a lot of girls that don’t participate in sports and it is looked at more as something for boys to do,” she said in an interview with Teen Vogue. “I want to change this so girls can see they can do the same activities as boys if not better. Girls can do anything and we shouldn’t care what people say. Just do it and have fun.”

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