As Christians around the world celebrate Christmas, the holiday season is also observed in Iran, a predominantly Muslim nation where Christians make up less than 1% of the country’s approximate population of 77.5 million.
Many of Iran’s Christians celebrate Christmas on Jan. 6, but the holiday is becoming popular across Iran and many Christians are celebrating on Dec. 25, with some young Iranians joining in.
Despite being a minority, Iran’s Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians are recognized as established religious minorities and are represented in parliament, and also enjoy freedom to practice their religions and perform their religious rituals.
“You can’t celebrate Christmas in any Islamic country the way we do in Iran,” Rafi Moradians, an Iranian Armenian in Tehran, told Al-Monitor. Referring to the community’s exclusive sport and cultural club, Rafi said, “Authorities don’t impose any restrictions on us. We attend church services and there are also special celebrations at the Ararat Club.”
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, 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.
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Christmas in Iran— Press TV video
Many Christians in Iran are out scrambling to buy last minute presents. There are about 150,000 Christians in Iran, most of them Armenians, who celebrate Christmas in churches and at homes with family and friends.
Christmas is the annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ and a widely observed holiday celebrated generally on December 25th by millions around the world.
In Iran Churches hold several activities for the Christian community during this festive holiday season. Although Christmas is a time usually enjoyed by children, some believe it is a joyous time even for adults.