Login
IRAN NEWS (Tourism & Culture):
Winter is coming with Yalda, Persian solstice celebration

Winter is coming with Yalda, Persian solstice celebration

December 21, 2018 | 10:21:48 (Iran Daily)
شب یلدا,جشن باستانی ایران
On the eve of the first day of winter, the winter solstice, sometime between December 21 and 22, a Persian nocturnal celebration will be celebrated in Iran. It is commonly known as 'Yalda' (Night of Birth), or 'Shab-e Chelle', for 'chelle' meaning 40, and Yalda celebration takes place 40 days prior to the Zoroastrian fire festival of Sadeh, according to the Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies.

The ritual was registered on the National Heritage List in 2008 and proposed for a global status on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2015.

Going well into midnight, Yalda is a social occasion, when friends and family join in making wishes, feasting on nuts, pomegranates and other festive foods and reading poetry, especially the work of the 14th-century Persian poet Hafez. Some stay awake all night to rejoice in the moment when the sun rises, banishing evil and announcing the arrival of goodness.

Dried fruits, nuts, sweets and fruits such as watermelon and pomegranate are served at the get-together.

The presence of dried and fresh fruits in mid-winter is reminiscence of an ancient agricultural concern about the crops of different seasons. Pomegranates and watermelons are particularly significant.

On this night, the oldest member of the family says prayers, thanking God for previous year's blessings, and praying for prosperity in the coming year. Then the melon is cut and everyone is given a share. The cutting symbolizes the removal of sickness and pain from the family.

Before modern heating facilities came to existence, family and friends gathered in a night-long vigil around 'korsi' — a low table with a brazier of hot coals underneath.

At a time when only seasonal fruits and vegetables were available, the host, usually an elder, carefully dried and preserved grapes, honeydew melons, watermelons, pears, oranges, tangerines and apples. These were then enjoyed by everyone gathered around the 'korsi', or a fireplace.

Eating nuts is said to lead to prosperity in days to come. More substantial fare for the night's feast includes eggplant stew with plain saffron-flavored rice, rice with chicken, thick yogurt, and halva.

 

Winter solstice history :

"Since the Earth is tilted on its axis, the arc the Sun moves through during the day rising and falling across the year as the Earth's pole points either towards or away from the Sun," according to Royal Museums Greenwich, home to the UK Royal Observatory — which is best known for the fact that the prime meridian runs through it.

"The winter solstice occurs at the minimum point for the Northern Hemisphere, when the Sun is lowest in the sky. At this time, the Earth's North Pole is pointing away from the Sun (which is why it is so much colder in the Northern Hemisphere). For people living in the Southern Hemisphere, the South Pole is pointing towards the Sun, making it summertime 'down-under'."

In astronomical terms, the December 21 solstice marks the end of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and the start of winter, which will technically end on March 20, 2019. It is one of the four days when a new season starts, alongside the spring equinox, the summer solstice and the fall equinox. However, in meteorological terms, winter begins on December 1 and ends on February 28. This is because the meteorological definition takes into account annual temperature cycles.

The solstice is important because it marks the beginning of the days getting longer (a trend that will continue until the spring equinox). As such, it has been celebrated by cultures throughout human history.

The December solstice occurs far more frequently on the 21 or 22 than it does on the 20 or 23. In fact, the last December 23 solstice took place in 1903 and won't happen again until 2303. Similarly, a December 20 solstice is very rare, with the next one not set to take place until 2080.

The reason that the date of the solstices varies can be explained by the differences between the Gregorian calendar and the 'tropical year'.
YOU'D ALSO LIKE:
City
City of poets, Shiraz is home to the graves of Hafez and Sa'di, both major pilgrimage sites for Iranians. It's also home to splendid gardens, exquisite mosques and whispered echoes of ancient sophistication that reward those who linger beyond the customary excursion to nearby Persepolis: the area's major tourist destination.
Shiraz
City
City of poets, Shiraz is home to the graves of Hafez and Sa'di, both major pilgrimage sites for Iranians. It's also home to splendid gardens, exquisite mosques and whispered echoes of ancient sophistication that reward those who linger beyond the customary excursion to nearby Persepolis: the area's major tourist destination.
Tourist Attraction
Hafez or Hafiz is one of the most famous Gnostics and poets of Iran, who was born in Shiraz in 726 AH and passed away 65 years later. The tomb of Hafiz also known as Hafizieh is located ...
Tomb of Hafez (Hafezieh)
Tourist Attraction
Hafez or Hafiz is one of the most famous Gnostics and poets of Iran, who was born in Shiraz in 726 AH and passed away 65 years later. The tomb of Hafiz also known as Hafizieh is located ...
City
Isfahan or Esfahan is in a north-south position, segregates the townships of the province into two eastern and western portions. To its north is the Markazi (Central) Province and ...
Isfahan
City
Isfahan or Esfahan is in a north-south position, segregates the townships of the province into two eastern and western portions. To its north is the Markazi (Central) Province and ...
City
The capital of East Azerbaijan province, in the Azerbaijan region of Iran. It is a modern industrialized Iranian city with signs of civilization dating back 2,500 years. Tabriz was named by the Organization of Islamic Conference as the « city of the Islamic world tourism » for 2018.
Tabriz
City
The capital of East Azerbaijan province, in the Azerbaijan region of Iran. It is a modern industrialized Iranian city with signs of civilization dating back 2,500 years. Tabriz was named by the Organization of Islamic Conference as the « city of the Islamic world tourism » for 2018.
City
Capital city of Kerman Province, Famous for its strong cultural heritage, the city is one of the oldest in Iran. It is well-known for its thriving hand-woven carpet industry since the late 19th century
Kerman
City
Capital city of Kerman Province, Famous for its strong cultural heritage, the city is one of the oldest in Iran. It is well-known for its thriving hand-woven carpet industry since the late 19th century
Your Name [required]:
Your Email [required]:
Subject:
Your Message:
Please enter this code:
SEND
Copyright 1995-2005, Iran Tourism and Touring Organization, 2005-2018 Iran Travel, Tourism and Touring NGO.
All rights reserved. Design & Developement: Sirang Rasaneh Interactive Web Design and Multimedia Studio