Considered a barbaric ritual by many outsiders, this is one of the most important events in the Shia calendar. The day marks the anniversary of the martyrdom of Husayn, the grandson of Mohammad. To demonstrate devotion, some followers let their blood flow freely from their heads through self-inflicted wounds.
Victory of the Revolution
This day commemorates the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, when the Shah was overthrown and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini came into power.
This is the Iranian New Year celebration, a holiday that is also shared by some neighbouring countries. Preparations for Norouz include the cleaning of homes and the purchase of new clothes and flowers. The 12-day celebration includes visiting family and friends, culminating in an outdoor picnic on the 13th day.
Islamic Republic Day
This day commemorates the creation of an Islamic republic after the downfall of the Shah in 1979.
This day is the Prophet’s birthday and is celebrated by the Shia on the 17th of Rabbi al-Awwal. This date also coincides with the birthday of Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq, which is also recognised.
This day commemorates the anniversary of the death of the founder of Iran’s Islamic regime, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Birthday of Iman Ali
The birthday of Iman Ali is recognised across Iran.
Also known as the Ascension of the Prophet, this day celebrates the greatest miracle in Islam, when the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven to join God.
Birthday of Imam Mahdi
This occasion is celebrated across Iran, marking the birthday of Mahdi, the 12th and final Shi'a Imam.
Martyrdom of Imam Ali
This day commemorates Imam Ali’s martyrdom at Kufa Mosque. Remembered as the first Imam and a helper of orphans, Ali was also the first successor of Prophet Muhammad.
This is a day when Muslims from around the world gather to demonstrate their support for those of the Islamic faith who are oppressed. Rallies are typically held in Tehran, although visitors are not advised to attend.
This day marks the end of Ramadan and the fasting that is observed in this month. Feasts and family gatherings are typical activities for people on this public holiday.
Martyrdom of Imam Sadeq
This day is observed across the country as a public holiday. Normally, Iranians attend a religious ceremony, which takes place at a mosque.
Also referred to as the Feast of the Sacrifice, Eid al-Adha commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim's (Abraham's) willingness to sacrifice his son Ismael for God. This three day-long festival incorporates prayer, sacrifice and charitable acts.
Islamic New Year: 20 January
Ashoura: 30 January
Victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution: 11 February
Oil Nationalisation Day: 20 March
Nowrooz (Iranian New Year): 21 March
Prophet's Birthday and the Martyrdom of Imam Sadeq: 31 March
Islamic Republic Day: 01 April
Sizdah-Bedar: 02 April
Death of Imam Khomeini: 04 June
Anniversary of Uprising Against the Shah: 05 June