Yalda, Yalda Night/Shab-e Yaldâ, or Shab-e Chelleh, meaning “night of forty” is the Persian Winter Solstice celebration which has been popular since ancient times. Yalda is celebrated on the Northern Hemisphere‘s longest night of the year, that is, on the eve of the Winter Solstice. Depending on the shift of the calendar, Yalda is celebrated on or around December 20th or 21st each year.
Yalda has a history as long as the Mithraism religion. The Mithraists believed that this night is the night of the birth of Mithra, Persian angel of light and truth. At the morning of the longest night of the year the Mithra was born.
Yalda celebration has great significance on the Iranian calendar and it was a magnificent festival. The festival was considered one of the most important celebrations in ancient Persia and continues to be celebrated to this day, for a period of more than 5000 years.
In Winnipeg this event was jointly hosted and organized by the Iranian Community of Manitoba (ICM) and University of Manitoba Iranian Students Association (UMISA).
This year event was presented as a traditional night with the variety of programs such as poetry reading, games, contests, music presentation and dance. There were also pastries, fruit, nuts and a very beautiful and symbolic Yalda Table.
Upon arrival, guests were greeted by ICM and UMISA’s presidents Mr. Kermani and Mr. Taghikhani. The event was very welcoming and hosted a jubilant atmosphere to invite new and old members of Iranian community to socialize.
Everyone was racing to take a picture of the symbolic Yalda table. Ms. Talebi-Azar created the centre piece decorations for Yalda event. She designed and decorated the Yalda Table with many Iranian handcrafts, fruits carvings, nut designs and beautiful flowers. A breath taking collection, her theme was the Qajar dynasty era and on this table she also used household’s items such as samovars and other accessories.
Yalda programs started with Ay-Iran song and continued with messages from both organizations, presented by Ms. Shooshtari and Ms. Molaei. They introduced the Yalda agenda and asked Mrs. Arezou Smith to recite a poem by great poet, the Hafez, in Farsi. Mrs. Smith performed a Faleh-Hafez reading for both organizations and wished them success on their future cooperation. Next were the contests conducted by Mr. Kermani and Mr. Danee. The winners of these contests received prizes which were sponsored by Kourosh from Expert Real Estate Services. The night continued with music DJ Hamed, who rocked the place and got everyone dancing to the hip Iranian music. The fun and dancing continued through out the night.
This celebration event was only possible because of our dedicated and hard working volunteers, but I would also like to thank our sponsors for their gifts and donations.
Our volunteers who helped to organize this event were: Kourosh Dostshenas, Shahin Shooshtari, Arash Saleh Azad, Mrs. Soltani, Hesam Kashani, Mohsen Kermani, Arezou Smith, Arezou Talebi-Azar, Rahim Taghikhani, Hamed Danaee, Elham Molaei, Mehrnaz Sadr, Hamied and Foad Hassaninejad-Far
Our Sponsors were Expert Real Estate Services, 404 Basmati Rice, and Parana Pharmacy and Walk-in Clinic.
On behalf of ICM and UMISA’s board of directors, I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all the volunteers and event sponsors. Once again, you supported another Iranian cultural program and helped us to organize a great Iranian celebration; please accept our appreciation.
Yalda Task Committee Chair