Yalda Night (Persian: شب یلدا) or Chelleh Night (Persian: شب چله) is one of the oldest Iranian celebrations which is celebrated with great enthusiasm on the last night of autumn, as the longest night of the year.
Yalda night or Chelleh Night, just like Syrian Wednesday and Nowruz, is one of the oldest Iranian celebrated that begins at sunset on the last day of autumn and ends with the sunrise on the first day of winter. Yalda night has a special place in Iranian culture and has always been considered a motivation for the period of distant and close relatives, a subject that provides the ground for more communication and stronger bonds between families.
On the eve of Yalda night, indescribable passion arises among Iranian families, because they want to prepare for this night. Undoubtedly, buying nuts and fruits such as watermelon and pomegranate is one of the things that Iranians do this night. To learn more about Yalda night and its customs, follow this article from TermehCrafts.
Intro of Yalda night from the past to the present
One of the most important nights of ancient Iran is Yalda night, which has been considered and important by Iranians for a long time until today. Celebrations held by people in all parts of the country on this night are a long-standing tradition. To this day, not only has its value not diminished, but it has found a very special place among Iranians.
In ancient times in Iran, people were engaged in animal husbandry and agriculture and adjusted their lives to nature; So that the change of seasons and the shortness or length of night and day had a great impact on their lives. Therefore, they attached special importance to the light, warmth and length of the days and considered it good, but the winter, cold and long nights were not very pleasant for them.
Yalda night is the longest night of the year, which is related to the time between sunset from December 20, the last day of autumn to sunrise on December 21, the first day of winter, coincides with the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. The night gets shorter and the day gets longer.
In the ancient religion of Iran, the night of Yalda is actually the night of the birth and appearance of the sun. When Mithra (God of the World) emerges from a cave in the Alborz Mountains right in the darkness of a long, cold night, the sun shines.
Mithra or (Mehr) is one of the oldest human myths that has its roots in the Aryan tribes.
The people of ancient Iran, with their high foresight and thinking, found that the continuation of life of all creatures, including humans, animals and plants, depended on the heat of the sun, and believed that Mitra created the sun to humans and other living things using its light and heat. , Were able to survive, for this reason, they had a special respect for the sun. They called the sun (Mehr) synonymous with divine grace, and worshiped (Mithra) or eternal light as the God who created Mehr.
After the Iranians converted to Zarathustra, some Mithraic rituals remained in Zarathustra. the people of ancient Iran gathered in honor of “Ahuramazda” and “Mehr” on the night of Yalda and ate, drank and rejoiced. A tablecloth called “Mizd” (meaning host) was spread on this night, which contained nuts and fruits.
With all these interpretations, what is known as Yalda night dates back to 500 BC, and its date of entry into the official calendar of the ancient Iranians dates back to the time of Darius I (Darius the Great).
Christmas, the Persian Yalda night !!?
Gradually, these religion and rituals and customs reached Europe, the Yalda night or Cheleh night ceremony was held on the occasion of the birth of Mehr and Noor, and even after the spread of Christianity, the customs of this religion remained in the lives of the people and among the Romans. The various denominations of Christianity decided to declare January 6, the year of the birth of Christ (pbuh); However, the Roman Church was forced to place the birthday of Jesus Christ (PBUH) on the same day as the birth of Mithra or Mehr, in order to forget the celebration of Mehr.
As the power of the Roman Church increased, so did other Christian denominations, but the Armenian Orthodox Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church still consider Christmas to be the sixth day of January. Scholars believe that December 21 or 25, according to biblical references, is dedicated to the season of agriculture and temperance and the early history of Christianity, and this day is not considered as the birth of Jesus Christ (PBUH). The first Christmas celebrations are gifts and heritage from ancient Iran to the world that have survived to this day.
The word Christmas has Roman roots derived from “Latin nātālis” meaning birth. In addition, the Santa Claus hat is similar to the hat of the priests of the Mehr religion, more interestingly, the pine tree and the star on it at Christmas are also the heritage of the Mehr religion. The Romans considered evergreen trees such as pine as a sign of Mithra’s power and victory over winter and cold. In the carvings left over from the Mehr ritual, one can see a pine or cypress tree next to the Mehr and Anahita, which are drawn in Iranian decorative motifs.
“Noel” (or “Nowel”) entered English in the late 14th century and is from the Old French noël or naël, itself ultimately from the Latin nātālis (diēs) meaning “birth (day)”.
Get acquainted with the customs of Yalda night
On the night of Yalda, families gather together and listen to poetry readings and stories by older and older people. Unreal and small stories whose heroes are fairies, demons and animals, and it is sure to be pleasant and fascinating to hear for every child. Reading Shahnameh and Hafez on Yalda night is another entertainment of Iranians and has been common for a long time.
Picking the Yalda night table with a variety of foods and snacks is one of the rituals of this memorable night, which includes special nuts and fruits such as pomegranate, watermelon and other snacks.
The main fruit of Yalda night is pomegranate because the ancients considered it a source of blessing and fertility and proposed this interpretation because of its many seeds and also its red color is a symbol of the sun and happiness.
Like pomegranate, watermelon is one of the most special fruits of Yalda night, You should know that watermelon is a summer fruit, so in addition to its bright color, it reminds of summer heat. It is also a symbol of the sun.
Nuts and special snacks such as pistachio kernels, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and dried berries and figs is one of the most important options for on Yalda night. As you know, long-term storage of fruits in the past was not easy for This is why many fruits were dried to be consumed and stored.