Christmas in Iran is celebrated both as the rebirth of the sun and the birth of a man who came to this world for the salvation of humans.
During Christmas, Iranian Christians, celebrate the festival by bringing together the traditions of their faith and also the traditions of other religions to celebrate the birth of the Lord. Iran, earlier known as Persia, is the land where the Three Wise men are believed to have lived when Jesus was born. This statement may be refuted by believers in other nations but to the Iranians it is a fact to be proud of.
Here are some pointers on how to celebrate Christmas the way Iranians do.
A few suggestions
- Remember to participate in the ‘little fast’ for which you require to begin abstaining from animal products on December 1st. ‘Big Fast’ occurs during Lent, the six weeks preceding Easter.
- Remember that during these days no meat, eggs, milk or cheese is eaten. It is a time of peace and meditation, a time for attending services at the church.
- Construct a Nativity scene in your home and also bring home a Christmas tree to decorate. Do it using colored lights and Christmas ornaments.
- Take into account that Christmas Eve is the last day of the fast. Get up well in time on Christmas day to attend the pre-dawn Mass and to receive Communion. Remember that it is not until you have received this Communion that you will be allowed to break the fast.
- After the service of Christmas day enjoy a Christmas dinner called the ‘Little Feast’ comprising of a traditional dish of chicken stew called harasa.
- The boys and girls of Iran have never heard of Santa Claus so do not give your children gifts. Instead buy them new clothes so that they may wear them during Christmas.
- Prepare a lot of meat (harasa) for the Christmas meal since it is supposed to last several days.
- Do not go overboard with all the fasting and other traditional customs; do only as much as you can possibly pull off without straining yourself.