'Christmas shopping brings happiness': WATCH Christians enjoy holiday spirit in Iran
Iran's Christian community decorated neighborhoods with happy Christmas lights and roamed the streets dressed as Santa Claus celebrating their main holiday with festive cheer.
Christians set up Christmas trees at their homes, and a mass was held in St. Joseph Cathedral in Tehran on Christmas Eve.
The streets were illuminated with bright lights in Christian neighborhoods in Isfahan and other cities.
Christmas in #Iran , in my beautiful city #Esfahan There are some Armenian neighbourhoods in the city and they celebrate #Christmas#ChristmasinIranhttps://t.co/gypQpwBijo thanks for sharing pic.twitter.com/Z0vIAxBKPN— Soureh (@3sdiestanding) December 25, 2019
"Regarding Jesus's birthday, we celebrate it annually. There are some halls our community uses to celebrate without any limitation," Aghdoush Ayvazian told Ruptly.
"Maybe in first years of the Islamic Revolution, there were some limitations, but we hold our ceremony freely [for] 20 years now."
Even Western sanctions failed to put a damper on festivities. Shops installed holiday displays, offering decorations, souvenirs and cards.
Christmas shopping continued despite higher price tags due to the sweeping US sanctions and the campaign of "maximum pressure" on Iran.
Iran, a country of contradictions. Protests, crackdowns & a dancing Santa. Merry Christmas y’all. pic.twitter.com/skbSQTi7Vc— Farnaz Fassihi (@farnazfassihi) December 25, 2019
Tina Fakhraei said that even non-Christians join the cheer. "Due to vivid colors… and happy atmosphere we hold this celebration every year, even though we are not Christians."
"Non-Christian friends of mine celebrate [this] ceremony and really enjoy it."
Some people donned Santa Claus costumes. One of them, Mikel, told reporters that "shopping for Christmas brings people happiness" and especially lights up children's moods.
There are around 300,000 Christians living in Iran. Most of them are members of the local Armenian Apostolic Church and Assyrian Church of the East, as well as several Catholic congregations.
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