In ancient Persia, similar to the present day, the calendar has been solar and based on seasonal changes. Every year has got 12 months, every month 30 days and each day has a specific name. then when the name of the month is same as the name of the day, there is a celebration!
All of these ancient festivals dates back to the time when the majority of Iranian were followers of Zoroastrianism prior to the advert of Islam.
Each of these festivals has got a theory and reason for celebrating. For example, the famous Iranian New Year; Nowruz, is the celebration of the spring equinox! When the spring is starting and a new cycle of the nature is going on!
Among the most important festivals that we will talk about later here; Yalda Night celebration is the third most important celebrations after Nowruz and Mehregan!
Every year on December 21st, Iranians around the world celebrate the arrival of winter, the renewal of the sun and the victory of light over darkness on Yalda Night. Yalda, which means Birth, is a Syriac word imported into the Persian Language. Early Christians linked this very ancient Persian celebration to Mithra, goddess of light, and the birth anniversary of Prophet Jesus.
According to Persian tribune, early Christians use the term Yalda specifically with reference to the birth of Mithra, goddess of light.
Because Yalda is the longest and darkest night, it has come to symbolize many things in Persian poetry; separation from a loved one, loneliness and waiting. After Yalda, a transformation takes place – the waiting is over, light shines and goodness prevails.
People was advised to stay awake most of the night, lest misfortune should befall them, and people would then gather in the safety of groups of friends and relatives, share the last remaining fruits from the summer, and find ways to pass the long night together in good company.
This festival is still celebrating in Iran and is a nice excuse to gather friends and families together. People enjoy the Iranian foods, have some fruits (especially the ones with red color like pomegranate, watermelon, etc.) they also read the poetries of Hafiz; the poem of 14th century and Ferdowsi 11th century.
You can find our special offer on Yalda Night family dinner in our Offer tours.