Yalda
This portal was curated by:

YALDA

Yaldā Night (Persian: شب یلدا‎ shab-e yalda) or Chelleh Night (Persian: شب چلّه‎ shab-e chelle) is an Iranian[2][3] Northern Hemisphere's winter solstice festival celebrated on the "longest and darkest night of the year."[rs 1] According to the calendar, this corresponds to the night of December 20/21 (±1) in the Gregorian calendar, and to the night between the last day of the ninth month (Azar) and the first day of the tenth month (Dey)[rs 2] of the Iranian solar calendar.[rs 2]

The longest and darkest night of the year is a time when friends and family gather together to eat, drink and read poetry (especially Hafez) and the Shahnameh until well after midnight. Fruits and nuts are eaten and pomegranates and watermelons are particularly significant. The red color in these fruits symbolizes the crimson hues of dawn and glow of life.
DATABASES
Yaldā Night (Persian: شب یلدا‎ shab-e yalda) or Chelleh Night (Persian: شب چلّه‎ shab-e chelle) is an Iranian[2][3] Northern Hemisphere's winter solstice festival celebrated on the "longest and darkest night of the year."[rs 1] According to the calendar, this corresponds to the night of December 20/21 (±1) in the Gregorian calendar, and to the night between the last day of the ninth month (Azar) and the first day of the tenth month (Dey)[rs 2] of the Iranian solar calendar.[rs 2]

The longest and darkest night of the year is a time when friends and family gather together to eat, drink and read poetry (especially Hafez) and the Shahnameh until well after midnight. Fruits and nuts are eaten and pomegranates and watermelons are particularly significant. The red color in these fruits symbolizes the crimson hues of dawn and glow of life.
Shab-e-Yalda (Yalda Night) also known as Shab-e Chelleh is one of the most ancient Persian festivals annually celebrated on December 21 by Iranians all around the world. Yalda is a winter solstice celebration; it is the last night of autumn and the longest night of the year. Yalda means birth and it refers to the birth of Mitra; the mythological goddess of light. Since days get longer and nights to get shorter in winter, Iranians celebrate the last night of autumn as the renewal of the sun and the victory of light over darkness.  On Shab-e-Yalda, people gather in groups of friends or relatives usually at the home of grandparents or the elderly to pass the longest night of the year happily by eating nuts and fruits, reading Hafiz poems, making good wishes, and talking and laughing all together to give a warm welcome to winter, and a felicitous farewell to autumn.
This night was called Yalda which meant rebirth (of the sun), and it was celebrated for the triumph of light over darkness. They built fires on sundown of the last day in fall and kept them burning until the first rays of sun the following day. During this night they gathered with family and friends, ate delicious food, drank, and sang happy songs all night and listened to stories about old times.

To this day Yalda remains as one of the most ancient festive ceremonies that has been celebrated in Iran for centuries since the time of the Persian Empire. Besides Iran, Yalda is celebrated in Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and some ceremonies similar to Yalda are also celebrated in Pakistan and Northern India at about the same time of the year. By tradition Iranians gather in the homes of the elders of family on yalda night, eat, drink tea and sharbat (sweet drinks made by mixing homemade fruit syrup and water) and be merry. The main Yalda fruits are watermelon, pomegranate, persimmons, apples and pears, though other fruits such as oranges, tangerines and kiwi are also available in Iran at this time of the year.
For Persians, the celebration of Yalda is based on the ancient concept of good and evil being akin to light and darkness. It is believed that on the day following the winter solstice, the sun is reborn as it breaks free from the talons of evil. But on the day of Yalda, sunlight hours are the shortest, thus people seek comfort around one another while singing folk songs, storytelling, eating, and sipping on wine or saffron-laced sweet tea. For Toronto's Katayoun Sabet and her husband, Mehrdad Ariannejad, Yalda is a time to be around new friends, since their families live in Iran. "In Canada, where there is so much diversity, Yalda is a celebration we can all enjoy together," says Katayoun
Zayeshmehr* which is known as Yalda and Shab-e Cheleh in Persian is celebrated on the eve of the first day of the winter (December 21-22) in the Iranian calendar, which falls on the Winter Solstice and forty days before the next major Iranian festival "Jashn-e Sadeh (fire festival)".


As the longest night of the year, the Eve of Zayeshmehr or the Birth of Mithra (Shab-e Yalda) is also a turning point, after which the days grow longer. It symbolised the triumph of Light and Goodness over the powers of Darkness.


Yalda celebration has great significance in the Iranian calendar. It is the eve of the birth of Mithra, the Sun God, who symbolised light, goodness and strength on earth. Shab-e Zayehmehr is a time of joy. The festival was considered pone of the most important celebrations in ancient Iran and continues to be celebrated to this day, for a period of more than 5000 years.


Yalda is a Syriac word meaning birth (NPer. milād is from the same origin) in the 3rd century CE, Mithra-worshippers adopted and used the term 'yalda' specifically with reference to the birth of Mithra.
Visit our special guest curator
Related Portals: