Iran officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. The country is bordered on the north by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.
Iran is bordered on the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, on the west by Iraq and on the northwest by Turkey.
Christmas Celebrations in Iran :
Iran, formerly Persia, is the land where the Three Wise men are believed to have lived when Jesus was born.
Christmas in Iran is known as the Little Feast. Predominantly a Muslim nation, Iran has a sizable Christian population. Majority of Iranian Christians are Armenian-Iranians also known as Parska-Hye who follow Oriental Orthodox branch of Christianity and celebrate their very own special festivals and traditions. Apart from them are also Assyrians, Catholics, Protestants and Evangelical Christians. Jews and Zoroastrians are recognized as religious minorities, Under Iran’s constitution Christians, are represented in Iran’s parliament and are allowed to carry out their religious rituals. Although a minority religious group in Iran, Christians of Iran are free to practice their religion and perform their religious rituals.
Christians in Iran begin fasting from animal products from December 1. This is called “Little Fast.” “Big Fast” occurs during Lent, the six weeks preceding Easter. For the first 25 days of December, a great fast is observed, during which no meat, eggs, milk, or cheese is eaten. It is a time of peace and meditation; a time for attending services at the church. The fasting is intended to purify the mind, body and soul to welcome Christ.
Every year, the Iranian Christians celebrate the occasion by decorating Christmas trees, exchanging gifts, and attending services. During Christmas season, Christmas Trees can be seen from Windows in Tehran and north-western provinces of the country.
Christmas Eve is the last day of the fast. Almost before dawn on Christmas Day, the people attend Mass to receive Communion and it is not until they have received this Communion that they are permitted to break fast. After Church service of December 25 they enjoy Christmas dinner which they call “Little Feast.” A traditional dish is a chicken stew popularly known as Harrissa or harasa. Gifts are generally not exchanged but children get new clothes which they wear proudly on Christmas Day. The boys and girls of Iran have never heard of Santa Claus, so they do not exchange gifts at Christmas. But they do receive new clothes, which they proudly wear all during the happy Christmas week and they are Christmas week is the time for happiness.
In Iran, notable Christmas celebrations take place in Tehran, Mashhad, Esfahān, Tabriz, Karaj, Shiraz, etc.
Wishing all readers Merry Christmas 2019 & Happy New Year 2020 !!!