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YALDA NIGHT. CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT. “ Yalda ” is a Syriac word means birth. This night is dedicated to the birth of Mithra, who is associated with the divinity of the sun in ancient Indo-Iranian mythology.

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YALDA NIGHT

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Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT

“Yalda” is a Syriac word means birth. This night is dedicated to the birth of Mithra, who is associated with the divinity of the sun in ancient Indo-Iranian mythology.

This ceremony is traced to the primal concept of Light and Good against Darkness and Evil in the ancient Iranian religion.


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT

In most ancient cultures, including Persia, the start of the solar year has been marked to celebrate the victory of light over darkness and the renewal of the Sun.


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT

Since the days are getting longer and the nights shorter, this day marks the victory of the sun over darkness.


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT

The Persians adopted their annual renewal festival from the Babylonians and incorporated it into the rituals of their own Zoroastrian religion and after Alexander attach to Iran it’s worship spread throughout the Hellenic world.


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT

The last day of the Persian month of "Azar" is the longest night of the year, when the forces of Evil are assumed to be at their peak. While the next day, the first day of the month of "Day" known as the day of the sun belongs to Ahura Mazda, the Lord of Wisdom.


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT

Fires would be burnt all night to ensure the defeat of the forces of Ahriman.

There would be prayers to Mithra and feasts in his honor, since Mithra is the god responsible for protecting "the light of the early morning".


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT

One of the themes of the festival was the temporary subversion of order. The king dressed in white would change place with ordinary people.

Grudges and quarrels would be forgotten and wars interrupted or postponed. Businesses, courts and schools were closed. Rich and poor became equal, masters served slaves, and children headed the family.


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

In the evening of  Yalda bonfires are lit outside, while inside the home, family and friends gather in a night-long vigil around the korsi, a low, square table covered with a thick cloth overhanging on all sides. A brazier with hot coals is placed under the table.

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT

In the past, fruit and vegetables were only available in season and the host, usually the oldest in the family, would have carefully saved grapes,

melons, watermelons, oranges,

tangerines,

Apples

& pomegranates.


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT

Iranian believe that watermelon could keep people healthy in the wintertime.


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT

Pomegranates are reminders of the cycle of life -the rebirth and revival of generations.


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT

The purple outer covering of a pomegranate symbolizes "birth" or "dawn" and their bright red seeds the "glow of life".


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT

On this night, the oldest member of the family says prayers, thanking God for previous year's blessings, and prays for prosperity in the coming year. Then he cuts the watermelon, gives everyone a share. The cutting symbolizes the removal of sickness and pain from the family.


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT

On into the night of festivities the family keeps the fires burning and the lights glowing to help the sun in its battle against darkness. They play music, tell jokes and stories, until the sun triumphantly reappear in the morning.


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT

One of the traditions of Yalda is reciting the poetry by Hafez, the 14th century Iranian poet. Most of the elements of Yalda festivities have roots from thousands of years ago; however, the recitation of Hafez poems has been added in recent centuries.


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT

Family members make a wish and randomly opens the Divan of Hafez to one of its pages and usually the eldest member of the family recites the poem on that page. What is expressed in that poem is believed to be the interpretation of the wisher's wish and whether and how it will come true.


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT


Yalda night

YALDA NIGHT

CELEBRATION OF THE LONGEST NIGHT


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