Islam is the official religion of Iran, However, like other countries in the region, Armenian-Iranians celebrate christmas.
Christianity has a long history in Iran, dating back to the early years of the faith. It has been practiced in Iran longer than the state religion, Islam. Today, there are at least 600 churches for 300,000 – 370,000 Christians in Iran.
Most of Christians are Iranian Armenians who celebrate Christmas in with friends and family members in churches throughout the country.
Christmas in Iran
Christmas trees decorated with red, green and gold gift boxes placed behind shop windows or at the entrances of different shopping malls and hotels can be seen, especially in the Christian neighborhoods of Tehran.
During Christmas in Iran decorated trees, along with Nativity scenes of the Virgin Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, can also be seen in shops along Mirza Shirazi Avenue and Ostaad Nejatollahi (Villa Avenue) and its surrounding neighborhoods in central Tehran, where many Iranian Christians reside.
Armenian-Iranians and Christmas in Iran
Some Iranian Christians celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25 and New Years’ on Jan. 1, while Armenians celebrate Christmas at the same time as the Epiphany on Jan. 6.
Christian neighborhoods of Tehran
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, During christmas in Iran 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.
Unlike other countries in the region where public celebration of Christmas is limited to hotels frequented by foreigners, there is no such restriction in Tehran during Christmas in Iran. The sale of Christmas ornaments, which during the first years of the Islamic Revolution was limited to Christian districts, can now be seen around town.