Culture is a strong and visible part of Persian heritage. It links Iranian expats to each other as well as to the ancient land in which their families lived for many centuries. Nowruz new year celebrations keep that irrepressible spirit alive. Classic Persian music and songs can re-awaken old memories. Modern interpretations of dance and other performances may draw their inspiration from daily life or imperial splendor. Movies and written works capture the experiences of Iranian expats dealing with today’s world and its daunting challenges as well as its unexpected joys.

House of Sand and Fog

An Iranian expat family has their new life in the USA upended in this popular movie which was nominated for three Academy Awards.

Melieka Fathi Dance Company

Melieka and her accomplished troupe perform classical Iranian dances, blending historic roots and diasporic inspirations.

Ramtin Ghazavi

Iranian-Italian tenor has performed many of the world’s most famous operas. He is the only Iranian tenor who has sung in the legendary La Scala Theater in Milan.

America and Iran

In this acclaimed book, Iranian-born John Ghazvinian shows how the once-sweet relationship between America and Iran turned bitter over the course of 300 years.

Shahs of Sunset

This American reality TV series followed Iranian Americans in Beverly Hills as they juggled personal lives and family heritage — for a remarkable nine seasons.

Ava Choir

The first and only Iranian choir in Los Angeles, Ava performs stirring versions of well-known Persian choir pieces as well as contemporary and folklore songs.

Istgah Orchestra

These Tehran-based musicians and singers travel the world performing inspiring Iranian music under the baton of conductor Mahdi Norouzi.

Land of Dreams

In this 2021 movie an Iranian American woman has a job collecting people’s dreams, but privately re-enacts them on social media with unexpected results.

And Many More

Culture and Moments that Move Us

It is something special to be part of a culture that goes back thousands of years — to times of empires, Silk Roads, and people coming together from the far corners of the earth. The vast land known as Iran became a mixture of local customs, foods, music and traditions which blended together into something unique which still survives today. We feel it when the first strands of Iranian music play, which we remember from younger days. We taste it when certain spices are used which make a dish truly Persian. We see splashes of color and symbols and immediately know it as Iranian in design, even if we have never seen it before.

And this rich culture is even better when shared — with family, with intimate friends, or even among happy strangers at an Iranian holiday celebration. This is yours to enjoy. Embrace it and share it.

Cloud: Culture, University of Virginia