Merry Christmas from Iran


Once Christmas holidays come, Christians around the world bring out the trees to festoon them with ornaments remained from the last year such as a shiny star on top, stockings, candy canes, snowmen, snowflakes, and angels hovering over the pile of gifts under the tree.

Parents hand in hand with children visit shops while carols can be heard in the background. Offers and discounts for Christmas on window shops or on top of every mailbox invite excited souls to get something for their loved ones.

Unlike some Muslim countries in the region, the Christmas spirit flows freely over Iran during these days, mostly in one or two neighborhoods at the cities such as Tehran or Isfahan.

You may not see choir groups caroling door to door, but if you pay a visit to Tehran’s southern Majidiye, Mirza-ye Shirazi streets or Jolfa St. in Isfahan, you will face many generous white-bearded old men waving at you to wish the season will be full of unexpected blessings.

Christians in Iran are from Armenian and Assyrian ethnic minorities who are mostly followers of Orthodox church and consequently celebrate the birth of Jesus on January 6 or 7. Therefore, as an Armenian writer and documentary filmmaker Robert Safarian once wrote on his blog some years ago, “If you have an Armenian friend, remember not to call him on December 25, when all the radios, TVs, and newspapers talk about Christmas and congratulate Christians on the birth of Jesus. The Armenian Christmas is on January 6 when probably nobody calls anyone to celebrate the holiday.”

On the Christmas Eve, Iranian Armenians often dine on rice, fish and Koukou Sabzi (an Iranian dish made with whipped eggs, vegetables, and herbs) which is also among Iranian’s New Year dishes that has been borrowed by the Armenians.

Once you step in Mirza-ye Shirazi St. or any other Christian related facilities such as churches or clubs, concert posters can be seen on walls that are calling only Armenians to participate in new year festivities. Tehrani Christians celebrate the Christmas holidays by gathering in families or groups and throwing parties in Ararat Club or hotel halls as in the hotel at Dizin Ski Resort to be surrounded by snow and enjoy a white Christmas.

Christmas week is among the happiest times of the year for about 120,000 Christians who can occasionally indulge in joyous celebrations and gorge on delicious homemade recipes of the event once again and chant Christmas carols while hanging socks for Santa to find them.

Despite the fact you are Christian or not, believe that you can enjoy the holidays in Iran along with your Armenian companions in a great season filled with candies and games. So have our wishes for fun-filled holidays! And Merry Christmas to all.

Browsing Category:Iranian Ceremonies

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