Christmas in Iran is known as the Little Feast, Easter being known as the Great Feast. For the first twenty-five days of December, a great fast is observed, during which no meat, eggs, milk, or cheese is eaten. It is a time of peace and meditation; a time for attending services at the church. But when the fast is over, the feast is begun, for plenty of meat is prepared for the Christmas dinner.
Christmas Eve is the last day of the fast. Almost before dawn on Christmas Day, the people attend Mass to receive Communion, and it is not until they have received this Communion that they are permitted to break fast. The boys and girls of Iran have never heard of Santa Claus, and gifts are not exchanged at Christmas. But the children are sure to receive a new suit of clothes, which they proudly wear all during the happy Christmas week.
A popular dish for Christmas Day is a kind of chicken stew. It is cooked in large quantities and generally lasts several days.
Iran played an important part in the history of the first Christmas, for it was supposedly from there that the three Wise Men came, the Magi who studied the stars.