A very special ‘well done’ to Mike Freeman of the snow leopards who has posted 202 miles, representing his accumulated miles over the past 6 weeks! That’s led to two things in particular – most importantly he’s become our latest member of the 1,000 mile club! Well done Mike! It’s also pushed the snow leopards 40 miles ahead of the wee monkeys in their journey through Iran. So, well done also to the whole team. It’s been fascinating to watch the journey of the snow leopards and wee monkeys, who, having travelled over 4,500 miles, are still within 40 miles of one another. Two wonderful teams!!
As it’s Christmas, I found myself wondering how this Christian feast is celebrated in Iran, being a largely Muslim country. In the UK and other western countries the religious significance of Christmas takes quite a back-seat to the social and cultural festival that Christmas has become. How about in a country like Iran? Well, with around 350,000 Christians there’s a large-enough population that would naturally celebrate. They fall into two main denominations – the larger Armenian Orthodox Church and the much smaller Assyrian Church of the East. It’s only the Assyrian Christians who celebrate on December 25th, as the Armenian Orthodox, like most other forms of Orthodox Christianity, celebrate Christmas and Epiphany together on January 6th.
But Christmas is evident in many parts of Iran nonetheless. Santa, trees and snowmen can all be found in most town centres, as we see in our feature image at the top of the diary. Not sure about egg-nog and cake, but it seems Christmas holiday time is alive and well nonetheless! Two articles about Christmas in Iran are worth a read if you have a bit of time: this one, from ‘Surf Iran’ and this one from ‘Visit Our Iran‘.
The tigers, too, are in a place where the Christian community is largely Orthodox, so Christmas in Serbia is still a couple of weeks away. The Orthodox churches keep the ‘Julian’ calendar, as opposed to the ‘Gregorian’ calendar that is followed in the majority of Western Churches. Learn about a Serbian Christmas here.
All this just to say that if our teams are looking for a bit of Christmas spirit and some jingle bells to help them on their way they’ll have to just sing to themselves!
In Pakistan, the peacocks have whizzed through Karachi and as usual, don’t seem to have hung around to take in any of the sights and sounds the city provides. With a population of 15 million that’s going to be a lot of sights and sounds for sure! For a flavour of what the city offers, click here. But who can blame our peacocks for wanting to keep moving – they’ve now only 440 miles to go! It might be winter, but they have a spring in their step.
Sorry if there’s less to the diary than usual this week (and maybe next week too!). We’ll be back to full research functionality after the holidays, for sure.
For now, though, very many thanks to Mike and congratulations on joining the 1,000 mile club. Remember, if anyone else has miles stored up from weeks past then do please record them and see what a great difference it makes to your team’s progress. It wasn’t just Mike who was flying this week – all in we added 604 miles, so not too shabby! Well done everyone, and have a very happy Christmas season.