Yalda Night

Also known as: Shabe Yalda, Shabe Chelleh

Rebirth of sun and light, defeating the darkness are the reasons that Iranian celebrate the longest and the darkest night of the year which is the end of the fall and beginning of the winter in the  Iranian Calendar (the night of December 20/21). This ancient traditional festival is called Shab-e Yalda or Shab-e Chelle.

It has been said this very old tradition was originally the birthday of Mithra -ancient Mithraic God who is closely associated with the sun.

During the Yalda night, Iranian families usually gather together in their grandparent’s house by being merry and having special foods and reading the odes of Hafez or listen to the tales and anecdotes of the elder members of the family. Hafez is one of the most famous Iranian poets. His book (Divan-e Hafez) is an inseparable part of every Iranian family’s bookcase.

Traditionally, Families used to sit around Korsi -a traditional Iranian furniture which is a low table with heaters underneath and covered with colorful blankets. In addition to a fine dinner, they usually have different kinds of dried fruit, nuts and fruits such as pomegranates and watermelons. In most parts of Iran, future groom’s family send a special big tray full of gifts and various kinds of edibles to their future bride’s house on Yalda night and they send back some gifts and edibles in return.

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