Despite modern busy life, the feast of Yalda, which marks the winter solstice, the longest night of the year by one minute, is still held by Iranians with some details mentioned below.
Children, as future generation, who lives in a world much different from our childhood, may have many questions about Yalda. This is our duty as their parents to answer their questions and make them accompany us to celebrate this national ritual.
Iranians all around the world celebrate Yalda Night, which falls on coming Thursday, December 21.
During the night, families gather at an elder’s house and feast on watermelon, pomegranate, dried fruits and nuts.
They eat and drink and read poetry, especially poems of Hafez, until midnight.
Yalda, a great story-inspired event
Don’t search for mythical and heroic tale! Tell them about Nan-e Sarma, which literally means 'Grandma Frost', a mythical character in Iranian folk, which is responsible for winter’s cold and frost.
Most stories about Yalda revolves around two sons of Nan-e Sarma Chelleh Bozorg and Chelleh Koochak. In Persian chelleh means forty. In ancient time, Iranians divided winter into two forty days, the first forty days begin from December 21.
There are several folktales about this family in different regions of Iran. You can search the web or ask elders about them and recount them for your children to familiarize them with Yalda.
Make Yalda a joyful event for your kids
Make a happy night for your children with a friendly reunion. If you don’t have access to grandparent’s homes, just make the event memorable with a friendly reunion.
Forget about lavish meal and decorated table set. Choose an easy-to-prepare food and prepare a friendly but beautiful table and invite friends and family.
In this way, you teach your kids that enjoying togetherness needs no money or extra time.
Set Yalda table with help of your kids
Tell your kids about the elements, which are served during Yalda Night and ask him or her to help you for setting the table.
During the process, you can explain to your child about each item, which is a symbol in Iranian culture as well.
Hence your kid becomes more excited about the celebration and wait for the event in coming year.
De-seed pomegranate with little hands
Pomegranate is an essential part of Yalda Night. Ask your kid to de-seed pomegranate for Yalda. In this way, you engage your child for the celebration.
You can explain to your kid about the fruit, which is great choice for Yalda with its bright color and its characteristics for general health.
cherish Yalda with your kids
You can ask your child and other children, if there is any amongst your invitees, to draw a painting about Yalda Night and reward them with a little gift.
Remind our kids about the essence of Yalda heritage, that they should always esteem togetherness and to enjoy human bonds, which save us in the coldest days of our life.
You can also ask your guests to recount their memories of their childhood about Yalda and share them during the reunion.
Reading and recounting stories of Shahnameh is also a great choice for entertaining children during the event.
Dear parents, don’t forget origin!
In fact, Yalda is a celebration, which gathers families and relatives before the cold days of winter emerge. It is a heart-warming event for our ancestors to deal with frost and cold of days to come.
This is the essence of this heritage, which we should transfer to the next generation. Teach them to esteem togetherness and to enjoy human bonds, which save us in the coldest days of our life!