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Happy Shabe Cheleh/Yalda

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 10:42 pm    Post subject: Happy Shabe Cheleh/Yalda Reply with quote

Happy Shabeh Cheleh/Yalda everyone!

Cheleh is actually the correct Persian, since Yalda is from Syriac. Tonight the light wins over darjness yet again, reminding eveyone that this is the night in which the light returns.


Winter Feast: SHAB-E YALDAA

In the east more than in the west, life-styles have often remained more in tune with nature. Therefore, natural rhythms change from morning to evening, from month to month, and finally from season to season. This integration of nature into life cycles is especially true in Iran. The winter solstice, December 21 or 22, is the longest night of the year. In Iran this night is called SHAB-E YALDAA, which refers to the birthday or rebirth of the sun. The ceremony is traced to the primal concept of Light and Good against Darkness and Evil in the ancient Iranian religion. This night with Evil as its zenith is considered unlucky. From this day forward, Light triumphs as the days grow longer and give more light. This celebration comes in the Persian month of DAY, which was also the name of the pre-Zoroastrian creator god (deity). Later he became known as the God of creation and Light, from which we have the English word "day" (the period of light in 24 hours).

In the evening of SHAB-E YALDAA bonfires are lit outside, while inside family and friends gather in a night-long vigil around the KORSEE, a low, square table covered with a thick cloth overhanging on all sides. A brazier with hot coals is placed under the table. All night the family and friends sit on large cushions (futons) around the KORSEE with the cloth over their laps. Formerly fruit and vegetables were only available in season and the host, usually the oldest in the family, would carefully save grapes, honeydew melons, watermelons, pears, oranges, tangerines, apples and cucumbers. These were then enjoyed by everyone gathered around the KORSEE, or a fireplace.

On this winter night, the oldest member of the family says prayers, thanks God for the previous year's crops, and prays for the prosperity of next year's harvest. Then with a sharp knife, he cuts the thick yogurt, the melon, and the watermelon and gives everyone a share. The cutting symbolizes the removal of sickness and pain from the family. Snacks are passed around through the night: pomegranates with angelica powder (GOLPAR) and AJEEL_E SHABCHAAREH or AJEEL-E SHAB_E YALDAA, a combination of nuts and dried fruits. Eating nuts is said to lead to prosperity in days to come. More substantial fare for the night's feast include eggplant stew with plain saffron-flavored rice; and rice with chicken; thick yogurt, saffron, and carrot brownies (HALVAA-E HAVEEJ). The foods themselves symbolize the balance of the seasons; watermelons and yogurt are eaten as a remedy for the heat of the summer, since these fruits are considered cold or SARDEE, and HALVAA, the saffron and carrot brownies, is eaten to overcome the cold temperatures of winter (since they are considered hot or GARMEE). 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.

Early Christians took this very ancient Persian celebration to Mitra, Godess of Light, and linked it to Christ's birthday. Today the dates for Christmas are slightly changed but there are many similarities; lighting candles, decorating trees with lights, staying up all night, singing and dancing, eating special foods, paying visits, and finally, celebrating this longest night of the year with family and friends.

Nazar Berooyeto Har Baamdaad, Norouzeest
Shabe Feraagheto Har Shab Keh Hast, Yaldaayeest
Sadeeye Sheeraazee

From: New Food of Life (1996)
Author: Najmieh K. Batmanglij
Publisher: Mage

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 1:00 pm    Post subject: Cyrus Kar 2008 Happy Yalda Message Reply with quote

Cyrus Kar wrote:

Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah or happy Kwanzaa? That always seems to be the question this time of year. But this year, let us celebrate it for what it really is. It was originally the Yule or Yalda festival meant to commemorate the birth of the Sun God Mithra.

Perhaps it had something to do with the Ice Age, which bedeviled ancient Nature Worshippers for so long that the day following the Winter Solstice, when days start getting longer, the day when light is born again, that day was the happiest day of the year for our freezing pagan ancestors and celebrated accordingly.

The Yalda festival was a Mithraic celebration, which finds its origins among the earliest Iranians. But in 53 BCE, when Roman legions, unable to conquer Parthian Mithraists, adopted Mithra the "Unconquered Sun" as their own military deity, Yalda or "Yule" became an official celebration of the Roman Empire.

Many of the original pagan symbols survive in what has come to be known as Christmas such as: holly, ivy, the color red, the mistletoe, Yule logs, the giving of gifts, decorated evergreen trees, Santa Claus, etc..

Most Christians know that December 25th is not the actual date of Jesus' birth. But to call it "Christmas" stretches the limits of irony as early Christians, even some today, did their best to abolish it. Polydor Virgil, an early British Christian, said "Dancing, masques, mummeries, stageplays, and other such Christmas disorders now in use with Christians, were derived from these Roman Saturnalian and Bacchanalian festivals; which should cause all pious Christians eternally to abominate them."

In Massachusetts, Puritans unsuccessfully tried to ban Christmas entirely during the 17th century, because of its heathenism. The English Parliament abolished Christmas in 1647. Some contemporary Christian faith groups do not celebrate Christmas to this day including the Worldwide Church of God (before its recent conversion to Evangelical Christianity) and the Jehovah's Witnesses.

In fact, I suspect that the last pagan holdouts supported the switch to "Christmas" in an effort to save their celebration from being eradicated entirely by the Holy Roman Empire.

In a compromise, the Catholic Church, in the beginning of the 4th century CE, agreed to celebrate the birthday of Yeshua of Nazareth (later known as Jesus Christ) on December 25th, four days removed from its original Yule date. Eastern churches followed suit and began to celebrate Christmas after 375 CE. Ireland started in the 5th century. The church in Jerusalem started in the 7th century. Austria, England and Switzerland in the 8th. Slavic lands in the 9th and 10th centuries.

Regardless of its origins, it's a great time to wish friends and family joy, prosperity and good health for the coming year.

Happy Yalda,
Cyrus Kar
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 1:16 pm    Post subject: Happy Yalda - Shab e Cheleh (The Night of the Fortieth) Reply with quote

Happy Yalda - Shab e Cheleh (The Night of the Fortieth)
December 14, 2007 by Plateau of Iran

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Yalda (a Syric word) is known as Shab-e Cheleh in the Persian language. It is celebrated on the eve of the first day of winter (December 21) in the Iranian calendar, which falls on the Winter Solstice and 40 days before the next major Iranian festival “Jashn-e Sadeh (mid-winter fire festival)”. As the longest night of the year, the Eve of Yalda (Shab-e Yalda or Cheleh) is also a turning point, after which the days grow longer. It symbolised the triumph of Light and Goodness over the powers of Darkness.
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