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Yalda Night

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The reason for naming Yalda night

Yalda Night Collection is derived from a Syriac word meaning birth. Syriac has been the common language of Christians, which has been obtained from research and study in the history of Persian books of dictionaries.
The word Yalda is not exactly known how and when it entered the Persian language. They do Iran and due to the proximity of cultures, this Syriac word finds its way into Persian

An overview of the history of Yalda

As you know, the history and background of Yalda date back to ancient times, but it is not clear when exactly its date belongs. Many archaeologists proposed the date of Yalda night seven thousand years ago. Pottery has been cited since prehistoric times because animal motifs from Persian moons such as scorpions and rams have been hacked into these vessels. You can also observe the ritual related to Yalda Night Collection.
With all these interpretations, what is known as the night of Yalda 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, a calendar that includes the Egyptian and Babylonian calendars.

Traditions and rituals of Iranians on the night of Yalda

We knew that the last night of autumn, which is the longest and darkest night of the year, with the name Yalda Night Collection, has gained a special place among Iranians, and the people of Iran will celebrate this long night together until dawn with all kinds of fun programs. They live happily so that the darkness and coldness and sorrow of the absence of the sun do not weaken their souls and they go to bed easily with a bright sky.
According to ancient traditions in the ancient religion, on the first day of January, the Persian kings laid down the royal throne and went to the desert in white clothes and sat on the white Persian carpet. The guards and gatekeepers of the royal palace and all the servants and enslaved people in The city were liberated and they lived like everyone else, and they were all in the same place, whether the chief or the king or the common people. Of course, the truth of this statement has not been proven, which may not be just a myth.
Yalda celebration is celebrated today by Iranians with relatives and families spending the night together so that family members gather on this important night and the elderly members of the family begin to tell ancient stories that eating watermelon, nuts, Persian pomegranate, and sweets. And different fruits are symbolic aspects of this dear night. Most of these fruits have many seeds and are considered a kind of contagious magic that human beings increase their fertility by resorting to their blessing. And watermelon and pomegranate are thought to represent the sun at night because of their red color.

Celebrating Yalda Night

Understanding Yalda Night: A Cultural Overview
Yalda Night, also known as Shab-e Chelle, marks the winter solstice and is one of the most cherished festivals in the Iranian calendar. This ancient celebration, dating back over 7,000 years, is observed predominantly in Iran and regions influenced by Persian culture. The essence of Yalda is the triumph of light over darkness, symbolizing hope and renewal as days start to lengthen post-solstice.

Yalda 2023: Marking the Date
In 2023, Yalda Night falls on Thursday, December 21st. This aligns with 30th Azar in the Persian calendar, highlighting the festival’s deep roots in Iranian tradition.

The Significance of Shab-e Yalda

Yalda’s origins are intertwined with Zoroastrianism, Iran’s ancient religion. The night is a symbolic struggle between light and dark, good and evil. Traditionally, it was believed that evil forces were strongest on this night, so people would stay awake until dawn, celebrating the resurgence of goodness with the sunrise.

Yalda Night Traditions

Central to Yalda celebrations are family gatherings. Homes become hubs of joy, as families reunite to spend the night together, sharing stories and laughter. The tradition of feasting is paramount, with tables lavishly spread with seasonal fruits, nuts, and various sweets. Pomegranates and watermelons are staples, symbolizing life and fertility.

Poetry and Stories

A unique aspect of Yalda is the recitation of poetry, particularly from the Divan-e Hafez. Families engage in ‘Fal-e Hafez’, a tradition of seeking guidance for the coming year through Hafez’s verses. Epic tales from the Shahnameh are also narrated, passing down ancient wisdom.

Celebrating Yalda with Authenticity

To celebrate Yalda authentically, certain principles should be followed. The night is about indulgence in food, particularly fruits like pomegranates and watermelons. A traditional setting might include a ‘korsi’, a low table with a heater, around which people gather. The color red, symbolizing life and passion, is a critical element of Yalda decorations, often complemented by candlelight.

Divan-e Hafez

Hafez Divan, a collection of poems by the 14th-century Persian poet Hafez, is central to Yalda. The poems, revered for their themes of love and spirituality, are read for divination and guidance, adding a cultural depth to the festivities.

Planning Your Yalda Celebration

To host a Yalda party, create an ambiance reflecting the theme of light overcoming darkness. Decorate with candles and lights, and play traditional Persian music. Ensure your table includes essential items like seasonal fruits, nuts, sweets, and poetry.

Essential Yalda Table Items

A traditional Yalda table is incomplete without:

Seasonal fruits: Pomegranates and watermelons, symbols of life and the sunrise.
Nuts and dried fruits: Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, figs, and raisins.
Sweets: Persian pastries like baklava and shirini tar.
Poetry and literature: Copies of Divan-e Hafez and the Shahnameh.
Decor: Red elements to embody life and vitality.
Yalda Music and Songs
Music enhances the Yalda celebration, with traditional and contemporary songs playing an essential role. A well-curated playlist adds to the ambiance and joy of the night.


Yalda Night is a time-honored festival rich in cultural significance and communal joy. It’s a celebration that not only honors ancient traditions but also brings families together in a night filled with storytelling, feasting, and warmth. As we look forward to Yalda 2023, let us embrace these traditions and make the longest night one of the most memorable.