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Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman
Year 19, No. 37, Summer 2020
Some of the customs of Iranian community
on William Franklin's travelogue
1. Introduction
The interesting memoirs or notes in any language are related to the
reports written by people who travel in all over the world. Often, these
notes contain content that cannot be found elsewhere (Rahimian,
1994). European's travelogue about Iran has been taken into
consideration since Safavieh, Zandyah, and Qajar periods, during
which numerous travelers have traveled to Iran from different
European countries for various purposes, each with reports, travel
letters, and notes on the situation of Iran which are considered as an
important and useful sources.
The travelogue is both a biography of the traveler, and a history of
population, which is considered as the most important source of the
recognition of the countries, historical and geographical situation of
the inhabitants, and narrative limited by the time, place, condition, and
*Date received: 06/03/2019 Date accepted: 17/06/2019
Email: [email protected]
author). 2. M.A. in Persian literature, Iran
140 ... /
occurrence. Travelogues are one of the essential sources of research
on the status and quality of people life for researchers and social
scientists who live in the present time. Historical books, which have
always been the main source for a national history, are the recording
of general and collective opinions with the views of the administrators
of a community. Therefore, travelogues are a valuable resource for
anthropology and sociology (Savagheb, 2001).
Iran is a land with thousands of years' background in terms of
history and geography; a land with the cultural and climatic diversity,
which has been able to protect its existence through political-
economic and religious developments among military, turbulences,
and calmness (Haghdar, 2016).
The climate expansion and the presence along with the other
civilizations, the creation of historic centers, and urbanization are
among the factors that have made Iran interested for foreign tourists,
and thus, transforming this ancient land into an international attraction
and adventurous travelers, cultural explorers, and foreign merchants.
These advantages fascinated and sent them to travel in Iran and make
them to record their memories of this rich land of cultural-social
variations (Ghaffarifard, 2013). The main aim of this study is to
explore the characteristics of the Iranian national identity in terms of
William Franklin's attitude. Further, the purpose is related to Zandiyeh
customs and its differences and similarities with the previous periods.
2. Methodology
In this paper, the method is texture-case with a correlation approach.
The documentary methods (surveying descriptive) and surveying
(using Franklin's theories during a trip to Shiraz) were used to collect
information. Also, the present study attempts to analyze and evaluate
the Shirazian customs in the Zandiyeh era, using the method of
'content analysis'. This research is done studying the full text of
/ JOURNAL OF IRANIAN STUDIES
141
William Franklin's book named Observations Made on a Tour from
Bengal to Iran. Also, cultural customs' attributes have been selectively
extracted and codified
3. Discussion
Culture is the mirror of the national identity, and refers to the
collection of literature, art, knowledge, religion, creations. In other
words, the culture of every society is considered as a popular culture
(Jafari Ghanavati, 2015). In fact, the popular culture is a combination
of customs, concepts, and a lifestyle with all its dimensions from birth
to death, which accompanies human beings. "It is clear that with such
comprehensive view, it has not only its roots in history, but also in the
ancient myths, religions, and the lives of predecessors." (Homayouni,
1992). Culture refers to the characteristics of a community or a nation,
and includes language, customs, tools, concepts, values, and criteria
(Shoarinejad, 1993). An important part of the rich history of our
Iranian culture refers to public culture and literature. In fact, the
culture of the people consists of a set of concepts, celebrations,
entertainments, legends, songs, illustration that is widespread and
dynamic; it is always evolving and recreating, and has harmony with
new needs and situations. It is not dependent on individuals and
groups; it is a collective movement made by people (Zolfaghari,
2015). Travelogues of European tourists to Iran are considered as one
of the main sources of research and studies in Iranian folklore.
Zandiyeh (1794-1750) have been known as the era in which few
scientific texts have been published in terms of the Iranian customs
and celebrations. Although the founder of this dynasty, Karim Khan
Zand, was a great man, defender of culture, and well known for many
years after his death, there is not complete information about his
lifestyles in this period because of his short governing period, internal
wars to eliminate rivals, limitation of relations with European
countries, especially Britain and France, and the incompetence of the
kings after him. William Franklin's itinerary is among the few
itineraries during this period which refers to the customs of zandiyeh
era. William Franklin was an orientalist and officer of the British
army. He traveled to Iran in 1786 due to his interest in learning
Persian, the history, and Iranian's lifestyles. He was a guest of an
142 ... /
Iranian family in Shiraz for eight months. After that, he published the
valuable book about zandiyeh era.
4. Conclusion
The people's customs during Zandiyeh era were influenced by two
periods: customs influenced by the ancient and pre-Islamic period,
such as the Golrizan ceremony, the sanctification of water and the
belief in its healing properties, the Nowruz celebration, poetry and
storytelling among the people, belief in spell, witchcraft, and
astronomy and the Safavid era. Karim khan wanted to constitute the
powerful government in Shiraz. Further, with the invitation of artists
from all over the country to Shiraz, some Safavid customs were
performed during the period of Zandiyeh, such as believing in the high
position of Imam, especially Imam Ali, harboring the criminals in
holy places, dividing Shiraz into twelve neighborhoods, believing in
sacrifices, congratulating food, some marriage practices, including
proper time for weddings, the use of green and red colors in the cloths,
some traditions and celebrations like fireworks and rams, Ghorban and
Ghadir festivals, Muharram ceremonies with all attributes other than
Ta'ziyeh.
Some traditions have been introduced in the Zandiyeh period, such
as the high use of proverbs and poems while talking, decorating
celebrations, some marriage practices such as the dowry of the groom
and poetry of the boy in the girl's house before the wedding, some
bloody customs such as the marriage between the killer family and
victim instead of taking the blood money and the Ta'ziye ceremony,
which are common in this period.
Key words: Zandiye era, William Franklin, Itinerary, Customs,
Culture, Iranians
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