Christmas in Iran– How Iran Celebrates Christmas Eve
Christmas in Iran is celebrated by the Christian community of Iran. Most of Christians are Iranian Armenians who celebrate Christmas in Iran.
Islam is the official religion of Iran, However, like other countries in the region, Armenian-Iranians celebrate Christmas.
Around 300,000 – 370,000 Christians live in Iran today Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world, and that his father is God.
Most Christians in Iran have ancestors from Armenia, a country north of Iran, or Assyria, an ancient land that once stood to the west.
They live in cities such as Tehran, Urmia, Tabriz, and Isfahan. Every December 1, Iranian Christians begin a fast. They eat no meat, eggs, milk, or cheese until Christmas Day.
On Christmas Day, they celebrate Jesus Christ’s birth by feasting on a traditional chicken stew called harissa, or on roast turkey. Iranian children celebrating Christmas receive new clothes, but rarely Other gifts.
Most of Christians are Iranian Armenians who celebrate Christmas in with friends and family members in churches throughout the country.
Christmas Culture and Traditions in Iran
Christmas trees decorated with red, green and gold gift boxes placed behind shop windows or at the entrances of different shopping malls and hotels can be seen, especially in the Christian neighborhoods of Tehran.
During Christmas in Iran decorated trees, along with Nativity scenes of the Virgin Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, can also be seen in shops along Mirza Shirazi Avenue and Ostaad Nejatollahi (Villa Avenue) and its surrounding neighborhoods in central Tehran, where many Iranian Christians reside.
Armenian-Iranians and Christmas in Iran
Some Iranian Christians celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25 and New Years’ on Jan. 1, while Armenians celebrate Christmas at the same time as the Epiphany on Jan. 6.
Christian Neighborhoods of Tehran
The festive mood, however, is not just limited to the Christian neighborhoods of Tehran, as some shops, especially those in the northern parts of the city, dedicate at least some section of their shop windows to decorations such as candy canes, snow globes and Santa Claus figures.
In recent years, During christmas in Iran municipal authorities have also put up banners celebrating the birth of Jesus on many main streets and at the St. Sarkis Armenian Church on Villa Avenue, where a service is held every year.
Unlike other countries in the region where public celebration of Christmas is limited to hotels frequented by foreigners, there is no such restriction in Tehran during Christmas in Iran. The sale of Christmas ornaments, which during the first years of the Islamic Revolution was limited to Christian districts, can now be seen around town.
In fact, festive Christmas decoration and celebration take place throughout the country, specifically in major cities such as Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz and even religious cities such as Mashhad.