Iranian rituals for celebrating Yalda night
Yalda Night or Shab-e Chele is one of the oldest Iranian traditional celebrations . At Yalda, Iranian people celebrate the longest night of the year followed by the prolongation of days in the northern hemisphere, coinciding with the winter solstice. The name Yalda means birth which is Christian in origin, derived from the Syrian word. Iranian people perform special ceremonies at this night, which could be different city by city. Historically, one of the great Iranian scholars, Al-Biruni, has referred to the Yalda night as the night the sun was born. There is no specific reason for this naming yet, but they are also call it as the night of great birth. If we want to talk about the history of Yalda night and its origin in Iran, we can go back to the Cyrus I period and look for the birth of Yalda night at that time. Many historians believe that the Yalda celebration dates back to about seven thousand years ago, also many archaeologists have confirmed this.
rituals and traditions of Yalda
Some of the special traditions of this night include storytelling, reading Hafez and Shahnameh, having special fruits such as watermelon and pomegranate , nuts and sweets, all of which for a tourist who has come to Iran is such an attractive event. What we are about to say is very spectacular.
Yalda celebration in different cities of Iran and its attraction for tourists
Yalda Night is held in the different cities of Iran according to their traditions. Here are some of Yalda night celebrations in some cities of Iran: In Hamadan it is customary that besides the food and fruits and the above mentioned, an old woman sits at the top of a chamber and begins to read poem, a child with a needle in hand on a cloth that is not sewn yet, and the poem reads by the old woman who is sitting in the crowd, and each poem is dedicated to one person, known as the needle omen. In Kohkiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad province, a person reads a methyl reading at Yalda Night, which is differs from reading the Shahnameh its more like storytelling, which a person tells a long story until the midnight. The other custom of this province is the Kase- Bahreh, which is feeding the poor.
In South Khorasan province, there is a ceremony called Kaf-Zani ceremony, in which the roots of a special plant are soaked and boiled and the foam is eaten by mixing sugar or syrup. Those who cook on the foam rub each other's head and face before drinking the beverage.
Needless to say, the most common and celebrated ceremony at Yalda Night throughout Iran is reading Shahnameh and Hafez poems. These two elements are inseparable from Yalda Night Ceremonies. While reading Shahnameh at Yalda Night, they learn about Rostam and Sohrab, Shirin and Farhad, Leili and Majnoon and many of its sweet stories, Hafiz's lovely poems,and the fate that Hafez has set in his poems for people ends the night of Yalda.
Yalda Night Traditional Cuisines & Snacks
At Yalda Night, many traditional Cuisines & snacks are prepared to accommodate guests. Sometimes these are tourist guests who have traveled to Iran for Yalda night or sometimes they may be family members. Yalda catering should be special but simple. Of course, the type of food and snack is varied in Iranian cities. Pomegranates and watermelons are an integral part of Yalda carting, there are People who believe that these two fruits have a lot of seeds, hence are considered as symbols of fertility and blessing. In Fars province, people prepare food based on body temperaments, Ranginak, which is made of dates and fried flour in utter, dates for those who are warm-tempered and watermelons and some nuts for those who are cold-tempered.
In Kermanshah province they eat red pomegranates, yellow lemons, red apples and watermelons and believe these fruits are symbols of the sun's heat. At Kermanshah’s Yalda Night, we'll see sweets like Basluq, Kaak, and rice bread. In the province of Kurdistan, In Yalda Night foods served with sangak bread made also various dolma such as cabbage, leaf vine, pepper, eggplant. These dishes are very tasty. These Kurdish foods and delights make Yalda Night more beautiful for dear Iranian Kurds.
In Qazvin province, for Yalda night, they first visit the elderly, where they begin to eat the Shab-chare (dried fruit and nuts) and snacks like figs, walnuts, raisins. The delicious food of the people of Qazvin at Yalda night is Sabzi polo with smoked fish which is very tasty. In Gilan province, the melon will be provided along with other local cuisines , and it is believed that every one eats watermelon at Yalda night does not feel thirsty in summer and will not feel the cold in the winter. In the provinces of Azerbaijan, it is customary for families to gather at Yalda Night and spend the night together. Watermelons, pomegranates, oranges, nuts, fish, etc. are some of the foods that are common in Azerbaijan province. The Yalda Khonche is one of the obligatory traditions of Yalda night in most cities of Iran. The khonche refers to be a large tray carrying gifts from the groom to bride, which nowadays it is called simply the Yalda bridal gift. It is a tradition that for the first Yalda of a young couple the groom’s family decorate watermelon and pomegranates for the bride along with other gifts. On this night relatives of the groom usually bring gifts and offerings, including winter clothing and shoes as gifts, to the bride's father's home and dine with them. They also give a gift to the groom. It can be said that by celebrating the longest night of the year, we are welcoming the winter and enjoying this long night.

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