Yalda night in Afghanistan

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Yalda night is the longest night of the year and it is in the end of  last night of autumn and starts the first night of winter. The festival dates back to the time when a majority of Persians were followers of Zoroastrianism. Yalda is celebrated every year in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries such as Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and other neighbouring countries.

 In the yalda night or (shabe yalda) it is a custom to invite guest or go to the invitation, more common to go to the eldest member of the family. This night is celebrate by serving watermelon, pomegranate and different kind of nuts which call,(Ajil)  they sit around the cathedra which is a traditional substance that which is warm inside  due to put fired charcoal and it covered with blanket.  Read the Book of Poetry and mythology talking about the old time and Yearn for the better future with special pray which they do during the Yalda Night, and it is a special pray, all should raise both their hands   and the patriarch person pray and other internally pray for their own wishes. In yalda night it is a believe those who begin winter by eating summer fruits would not fall ill during the cold season. Therefore, eating watermelons is one of the most important traditions in this night. Pomegranates, placed on top of a fruit basket, are reminders of the cycle of life--the rebirth and revival of generations. The purple outer covering of a pomegranate is a symbol of birth or dawn, and their bright red seeds the light of life.  Ancient Persians believed that evil forces were dominant on the longest night of the year and that the next day belonged to the Lord of Wisdom, Ahura Mazda. In yalda night it is a custom to stay awake since late of midnight. On Yalda festival, Afghan celebrate the arrival of winter, the renewal of the sun and the victory of light over darkness. since the days become longer and nights shorter, this day marks the victory of the sun over darkness.


 One of the other traditions of Yalda night, which has been added in recent centuries, is the recitation of the classic poetry of Hafez, the Iranian poet of 14th century AD. Each member of the family makes a wish and randomly opens the book and asks the eldest member of the family to read it aloud. What is expressed in that poem is believed to be the interpretation of the wish and whether and how it will come true. This is called Faal-e Hafez (Hafez Omen).

congruous with the beginning of the winter, Yalda is an occasion to celebrate the end of the farming season. It is today an event to thank the Lord for all blessings and to pray for being prosperous in the next year.

About the author


Farzaneh Popal is originally from Afghanistan was born in herat, in may 20/1988 she moved to Iran when she was a child. She went to primary, secondary, and high school in Tehran. since she interested in English language she studied four years english in Kish way institute of Tehran. she…

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