Sarve Tree

Sarve celebrations on December 25th as the birthday of Mitra, which we celebrated as early as 5000 B.C. Zoroastrians after refining and discarding some of the mythical and "heretical" aspects of Mithraism, retained Jashn-e-Mehregan and Yalda or "The Birth." Iranians celebrated Yalda and decorated an evergreen tree, the sarve. The sarve (Rocket Juniper - what a name! - also known as the cypress tree), being straight, upright and resistant to the cold weather (symbol of hardship) was thought appropriate, to represent Mitra. The younger girls had their "wishes" symbolically wrapped in colorful silk cloth and hung them on the tree with lots of presents for Mitra, to answer their prayers. http://www.iranian.com/Features/Dec97/Mitra/index.html