These days, Christian countries around the world are getting ready for Christmas. All streets, stores and houses are decorated with lights for this festive season. You hear Christmas songs everywhere and some people even wear Christmas jumpers. For Iranians, all around the world, it’s different, because they are getting ready for one of their most important nights of the year: Yalda night or Shab e Chelleh.
What is Yalda night?
Yalda means birth. Yalda night is a beautiful ancient Iranian celebration. Iranians are celebrating the longest and darkest night of the year
Ancient Persians believed that evil forces were dominant on the longest night of the year and that the next day belonged to the Lord of Wisdom, Ahura Mazda.
This night has been used in many Iranian poems to describe a dark night in which one gets separated from a loved one, creating loneliness and waiting.
Every Yalda night people are gathering with their loved ones. They would especially go to their grandparents’ house.
Eat, drink and read poetry(Hafez) during the whole the evening to pass the darkest evening of the year with laughter and joy.
Iranians believe those who begin winter by eating summer fruits would not fall ill during the cold season.
Honestly this evening is filled with different type of food. Gaining weight is very common in that evening!
The most important fruits of the evening are pomegranate, the jewel of all fruits, and watermelon.
Without them, there is no Yalda night. The color of these fruits symbolize the cycle and glow of life.
These days you can find everything in the shape and color of these fruit such as cake, cupcakes or even in home accessories.
As I mentioned, during this night people also read Hafez poetry.
You probably wonder why Hafez?
Iranians believe in Hafez as much as believing in God. People make a wish, open a book of Hafez and the first poem they see is the interpretation of the wish and whether and how it will come true.
So in Yalda night each member of the family makes a wish and randomly opens the book and asks the eldest member of the family to read it.