Unique Destinations For Any Getaway

Planning that ultimate getaway that is a mix of both exciting and unique can sometimes be a challenge. In these days of Instagram, Facebook and more, it seems that everyone and their dog have been to the usual countries like Thailand, Mexico, Italy and more. What about those of us who crave something more – something truly unique? Something that doesn’t seem to always make the front page of social media? Here are some unique ideas you can consider for that getaway that might raise a few eyebrows.

Ireland

Have you or someone you know been to the wilds of the Emerald Isle? It may seem like it’s frequently visited, but it may surprise you if you sit down and really think about the people you know that travel that haven’t been! While it has a large tourist economy and is set up for tourists to enjoy the wilds of the Emerald Isle, a lot of people do tend to want warmth and sun during their holidays, something that Ireland can’t always guarantee. Never fear though – with rugged coastlines, amazing hospitality and Guinness that’s to die for, we’re pretty sure you won’t have too many complaints about choosing Ireland for your next getaway.

Russia

Want something that will really raise eyebrows? Why not try Russia? Many people haven’t gone to Russia for holidays, but we’re not really sure why. It’s a unique place with immense history and gorgeous architecture, along with absolutely scrumptious food – and we haven’t even mentioned the vodka! With cities like Moscow, St Petersburg and Yekaterinburg to choose from, the choices will impress and delight even the most discerning of travellers. Want something extra unique? Try the Trans-Siberian train route. You can take it from Moscow all the way to Beijing if you change in Irkutsk to a different line!

Iran

This is one that will really get people talking. Iran has long been seemingly closed off for tourists and travellers, but that’s a popular misconception. In fact, Iran is open to tourists of all kinds – just… not really Americans, Brits or Canadians really. To check out this beautiful and shockingly welcoming country as one of those three you’ll need to be a part of an official tour, but if you’re just about any other nationality, you’re free to go as you please. Get ready to be mobbed by friendly locals wanting to legitimately learn about you and your homeland, get invited for tea and meals, be offered lifts to neighbouring towns and more. Don’t miss the rainbow mosque in Shiraz for an impressive photo opportunity and a chance to just relax for a bit in the colourful silence.

The ‘Stans

Most people might think you as strange for wanting to visit any of the ‘Stans, but they are not just unique, but welcoming and stunningly beautiful. Their somewhat inaccurate reputation means that there’s not many tourists around, leaving you with amazing mosques and other tourist sites in the likes of Uzbekistan almost all to yourself. Don’t miss Samarkand or Bushara for ancient Silk Road sites as well as beautiful open air mosques, desert mausoleums and more that will surprise and delight you.

With so many cool, unique and often unvisited countries in the world to check out, if you’re up for a bit of a challenge, you’re likely to find yourself having the experience of a lifetime if you’re willing to go where few have gone before. Good luck!

Your Guide To ‘The Nowruz Festival’ in Iran

For over 3,000 years, the Iranian people have been celebrating a festival called Nowruz which is their New Year. The festival takes place each year between March 20th-23rd and signifies the first day of the Spring and the rebirth of nature. The Persian and Iranian New Year is one of the biggest celebrations of all the Persian festivals and is made up of various different customs as part of the overall celebrations. Let’s take a look at the past and the present of this incredible festival. The word Nowruz quite literally means new year and this is how the celebrations go down.

The Origins

For thousands and thousands of years, this time in the calendar has long been a celebration for many different religions and peoples, from the Zoroastars the Babylonians and to the Proto-Indo-Iranians as a celebration of the end of the winter. The vernal equinox signifies the beginning of the spring in the Northern Hemisphere, the rebirth of nature and the time when crops can once again be sewn. This is a celebration that is enjoyed by many different people’s and religions to this day but the largest by far is by the Iranian people by way of Nowruz.

Celebrations

There are many different parts of the overall celebrations and we are going to take a look into a few of the ways in which the people enjoy the festival.

Haft Sin

Some days before the New Year, a special cover called the cloth of seven dishes is placed on the Persian carpet or table in the household. The number 7 is sacred in Persian tradition and seven dishes are placed on the cloth to represent the seven angelic heralds of the life-rebirth. Sprouts, Samanu pudding, Apple (Seeb), Senjed (fruit from the locust tree,) Garlic (Seer,) Somaq berries and vinegar (Serkeh) are all laid out n the table. Other items can be placed on the table which represent hopes for the future, these range from coins for wealth, eggs for fertility, a mirror for reflection and sometimes an orange floating in a bowl of water to represent the Earth in space.

Chaharshanbe Souri

The actual beginnings of the celebration are on the eve of the final Wednesday of the year. Many bonfires are made and family members will jumping over the bonfire and chant “Give me your redness and take away my wintry sallow complexionˮ. When the fires go out, the ashes are collected and planted in the fields to represent the burial of the previous year.

Haji Firuz

The heralding of the New Year is this character who signifies a fire-keeper, a man from the village will dress up in a red get-up complete with black face and red hat. People will gather around Haji Firuz and chant, sing and play the tambourine to celebrate the New Year.

Sizdah Bedar

This occurs on the 13th day of the year and sees families take to the great outdoors to celebrate nature. They will take picnics and enjoy games in the fields. The sprouts (sabzeh) which have been kept on the tables or in the homes will be thrown into the fields to rid bad luck form the house and to make the nature greener.

And that is the celebrations of the Iranian New Year or Nowruz.