Christmas and New Year celebrations in Iran


According to an ancient tradition, Christians all over the world consider the start of the year to be January 1 in winter, just as we Iranians consider the start of the year to be the first day of Farvardin (March 21) in the spring. , and the Arabs regard the beginning of the year as Muharram. It was in the 17th century that December 25 was proclaimed Christmas or the birth of Jesus Christ, and almost all believers in Christianity celebrate this day as Christ’s birthday.

On this day, many Christians decorate their homes and workplaces with candles, garlands, wreaths, stockings, and door decorations. They take special care and effort to decorate their Christmas tree with ornaments and place gifts underneath to be unwrapped on Christmas morning. Typically Christmas and New Years holidays last 12 days, with some countries celebrating only five days and others dedicating the 12 days to holidays. Some would use this time to go on a well-deserved vacation while others would stay home and throw parties to entertain their guests; the same as the Iranians do during Nowruz which takes up to 13 days.

Like other Christians around the world, Iranian Armenians begin New Year’s preparations on the last days of December. Christians in Iran, where over 97% of the population is Muslim, are considered religious minorities. They are divided into Armenians and Assyrians, with different ways of celebrating Christmas rites.

The Assyrians were a people who lived in ancient Iran and converted to Christianity since its emergence, especially between the first and third centuries AD. Like most Christians around the world, Assyrians in Iran celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25.

Assyrian Christians fast for 25 days before the birth of Christ, during which time they refrain from eating meat and dairy products. After December 25, they break their fast and take Communion in church.

On December 25, the Assyrians go to church to visit the Assyrian clergy and wish them a Merry Christmas, and the next day, the clergy will visit their fellow believers.

Christmas and New Year celebrations in Iran

It should be mentioned that unlike all other Christians who consider January 1 to be the start of the New Year, the Assyrian New Year falls in the month of Nisan and coincides with the 13 Iranian Farvardin (the end of year holidays).

Meanwhile, Armenian Christmas is celebrated a little later than that of other countries; That is, while most Christians around the world (including Catholics, Protestants, and the majority of Orthodox Christians) regard December 25 as the birth of Jesus Christ, the faithful of the Armenian Apostolic Church celebrate January 5th as Christmas Eve and call it Water Blessing Day. . Despite this difference, the Christian New Year begins on the first evening of January and comes with its own special ceremonies. Their New Year’s vacation ends on January 13.

In Iran, many young Christians begin to celebrate this festive occasion from December 25. Christmas trees decorated with red and green ribbons and golden boxes underneath are displayed behind shop windows or hotel lobbies in different parts of Tehran, especially in areas with Christian populations. .

Iranian Armenians, who make up the bulk of the country’s Christians, are busy these days preparing for their celebrations. On “Dah Metri Aramaneh” street in the Khajeh Nezam district of Tehran, where the Armenian Church of St. Vartan is located and the smell of freshly brewed coffee always permeates the air, shopping malls are bustling with activity and wishes for a happy new year are abundant during these days.

Christmas and New Year celebrations in Iran

In the days leading up to Christmas, if you walk through the streets of Tehran where most Armenians live, like Mirzaye Shirazi Street (known for its many toy shops) and Nejatollahi Street with its Saint Sarkis Cathedral, you might see posters. glued to the windows of certain stores, announcing a time and place for festivities and concerts.

But perhaps the most popular place to hold Christmas and New Year celebrations is the Ararat sports and culture complex in the Vanak district of Tehran; here you can buy special snacks and delicate handicrafts at charity stalls and listen to the best of Armenian music performed live. The festivities here are rather extravagant and the entrance fee is steep.

The Lorde Cafe Confectionery on Nejatollahi Street is one of those places worth checking out during this time. The heavenly smell of fresh pastries and Turkish coffee gives the air a special homely atmosphere, making the atmosphere all the more jovial for Christmas and New Years. A few hundred yards away, Sanaei Street also seems party-ready, with artificial pine trees, Santa Claus dolls, and bright shops lining the crowded street.

On the night of January 1, church bells ring to announce the start of the New Year, and on January 5, a glorious ceremony takes place in churches.

New Year’s celebrations are also held every year at midnight on January 1 at the largest and most beautiful church in Iran, Vank Cathedral, in the Armenian quarter of Julfa in Isfahan.

This is a republished report


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