Christmas, the most wonderful Christmas of the year for many people, is on its way. The excitement and joy spread around people, while they’re getting prepared for the new year. Christmas in Iran might not be as vast as other countries due to the dominant religion which is Islam, but every year there are lots of shops and pastries, making everything colorful and shiny as for a Christmas theme. Some shopkeepers decorate their shops to spread the Christmas vibe for our Iranian Christians and brighten their day even more. Not all Iranians celebrate this day, but they pray a merry Christmas for the ones who do. The atmosphere during December is full of joy, cheers, and kindness. Indeed, generosity and love are what make the celebration more fulfilling than ever. It’s time for celebrating the end of another year!
Christians in Iran
Christmas in Iran is celebrated by the Christian community that lives in Iran. The most majority of Christians in Iran are Armenians who celebrate the day with friends and family throughout the country, specifically in big cities like Tehran, Isfahan, Tabriz, and Urmia. Even in religious cities such as Mashhad, Christmas is celebrated by some friendly neighborhoods. Several churches in Iran are visited during this time, to hope and pray for another blessing year. Each year, all Christians gather in the Ararat sport and culture complex to get everything ready for their celebration and another brand new season. The most enthusiastic image of this time is the children who eagerly are waiting for this day to finally arrive so they could eventually get the presents they wished for from Santa Claus. Watching the smiles on children’s faces on Christmas eve itself is a gift.
The Ceremonies held during Christmas in Iran
On the first day of December, Iranian Christians go on a fast in order to prepare themselves for the celebration of the day Jesus Christ was born. They won’t be eating any meat, eggs, or any animal or dairy products until Christmas day. On Christmas day, Jesus Christ’s birth is celebrated by feasting on traditional stews, salads, and roasted chicken or turkey. Dishes might be various, but the result of all is the same: food coma. But leaving some room for dessert is a must! Whether it’s a family cookie recipe or holiday cupcakes, you know that Christmas is nothing without a delicious cookie. The family members bake cookies, prepare presents, and play games until late at night. They all gather around and tell each other about the glories of this special day from a long time ago.
Decorating the Christmas tree is the most fun part of getting prepared for the holiday. Just like everywhere else, decorating a pine Christmas tree is an old tradition, which is being held by those who celebrate this day. The pine trees get covered with all sorts of decorations, like ornaments, colorful strings of lights, tinsels, and other desired stuff by their owners. Edible items such as gingerbread, candy canes, and other sweets are also popular to get tied to the tree’s branches with ribbons. The last touch that needs to be added to the Christmas tree is hanging the shiny star at the top. Almost every street in big cities that you visit is full of Christmas trees and shiny decorations. You can see the Christmas designs behind the windows or at the entrance of different shopping malls and hotels being displayed, especially around the Christian neighborhoods of Tehran and Isfahan. The most popular places for buying Christmas decorations in Tehran are Mirza Shirazi Avenue and Villa Avenue, Jolfa, and the nearby Christian areas in central Tehran, where most Iranian Christians live, though, the spirite is visible even in non-christian neighboarhoods particularly in the northern parts of Tehran where the day is specially respected.
Celebration on Tehran’s Christian Neighborhoods
During Christmas days in Iran, so much positive vibe and happiness spread around people that encourage non-Christians to celebrate it with christans. Therefore, non-Christian Iranians also go shopping at this specific time to be fully prepared for the celebration. These preparations for Christmas in Iran is not limited to the Christian neighborhoods, as some shops design a whole part of their place with decorations such as pine trees, Santa Claus, and reindeer figures. This is so common among the shops during Christmas, especially those that are located in the northern parts of Tehran city. Lately, around Christmastime in Iran, so many banners have been put up on many main streets for celebrating the birth of Jesus by municipal authorities. There is also a massive service, being held almost every year at St. Sarkis Armenian Church on Villa Avenue that you can see so many happy and cheerful people hanging around and being thankful for another Christmas.