The country of Iran was once known as Persia. The name Persia was derived from Parsa, the Indo-European people that settled in southern Iran in an area known as Persis in approximately 1000 BCE. Persia was frequently known as Iran – which translates to “Land of the Aryans.” The name was officially changed to Iran in 1935.
Today, Persians are the predominant ethnic group residing in Iran. Persians speak the same language of Persian – or Farsi. The majority practices Islam. The Persian population is divided into different classes of people. Each class is distinguished by profession. The upper class is comprised of real estate investors, and entrepreneurs. The next class is made up of merchants and clergy. The middle class is made up of civil servants and white-collar workers. Below that is laborers. The lowest class of Persian people are unskilled workers and unemployed people.
Persians celebrate many important holidays, including the Persian New Year, which is known as Noruz. These holidays are a time when many people gather to enjoy local Persian foods, most commonly dishes featuring lamb, rice, vegetables, and spices.
Today, most Persians live in Iran. However, not all Iranians are Persian. There are additional ethnic and tribal groups that reside in modern Iran, including the Azeri and Kurdish people. According to the CIA Factbook, over 50% of the population of Iran is Persian.
Persians can trace their lineage back to what is today Iran, but all Persians don’t necessarily live in Iran. Instead, populations of Persians can be found in other nations including Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Persian Gulf states.