Persian New Year in the shadow of Coronavirus

Persian New Year in the shadow of Coronavirus As you may already know, 20th of March 2020 is the first day of year in Persian calendar. From 3000 years ago the start of spring has a significant meaning in Iranians/Persians culture. For us, New Year’s day is more than just a formal date in the […]

Yalda night

Don’t miss out Yalda night! It`s basically the longest night of the year (the last night of Autumn) and Iranian people celebrate it very special. So accept any invitation you get at this night from any local person! And how to get an invitation?! You don’t have to arrange anything in advance, Just be open to Iranian hospitality!


Yalda night (Shab-e Yalda or Shab-e Chelleh) is an Iranian festival celebrated on the “longest and darkest night of the year,” Yalda is a winter solstice celebration, that is, in the night of the Northern Hemisphere’s winter solstice.

The longest and darkest night of the year is a time when friends and family gather together to eat, drink and read poetry (especially Hafez) until well after midnight. Fruits and nuts are eaten and pomegranates and watermelons are particularly significant. The red color in these fruits symbolizes the crimson hues of dawn and glow of life. The poems of Divan-e Hafez, which can be found in the bookcases of most Iranian families, are read or recited on various occasions such as this festival and Nowruz.


Customs and traditions

In Zoroastrian tradition the longest and darkest night of the year was a particularly inauspicious day, and the practices of what is now known as “Shab-e Chelleh/Yalda” were originally customs intended to protect people from evil during that long night at which time the evil forces of Ahriman were imagined to be at their peak. People were 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.  Although the religious significance of the long dark night have been lost, the old traditions of staying up late in the company of friends and family have been retained in Iranian culture to the present day.

Food plays a central role in the present-day form of the celebrations. In most parts of Iran the extended family come together and enjoy a fine dinner. A wide variety of fruits and sweetmeats specifically prepared or kept for this night are served. Foods common to the celebration include watermelon, pomegranate, nuts, and dried fruit. These items and more are commonly placed on a korsi, which people sit around. In some areas it is custom that forty varieties of edibles should be served during the ceremony of the night of Chelleh.

Light-hearted superstitions run high on the night of Chelleh. These superstitions, however, are primarily associated with consumption. For instance, it is believed that consuming watermelons on the night of Chelleh will ensure the health and well-being of the individual during the months of summer by protecting him from falling victim to excessive heat or disease produced by hot humors. In Khorasan, there is a belief that whoever eats carrots, pears, pomegranates, and green olives will be protected against the harmful bite of insects, especially scorpions. Eating garlic on this night protects one against pains in the joints.

After dinner the older individuals entertain the others by telling them tales and anecdotes. Another favorite and prevalent pastime of the night of Chelleh is fāl-e Hafez, which is divination using the Dīvān of Hafez. It is believed that one should not divine by the Dīvān of Hafez more than three times, however, or the poet may get angry.

Activities common to the festival include staying up past midnight, conversation, drinking, reading poems out loud, telling stories and jokes, and for some dancing. Prior to invention and prevalence of electricity, decorating and lighting the house and yard with candles was also part of the tradition, but few have continued this tradition. Another tradition is giving dried fruits and nuts to family and friends, wrapped in tulle and tied with ribbon (similar to wedding and shower “party favors”). Prior to ban of alcohol, drinking wine was also part of the celebration. Despite the Islamic alcohol ban in Iran, many continue to include home-made alcoholic drinks in their celebrations.


Where is the first human settlement in Iran?

Roman Ghirshman who was a Russian-born French archeologist who specialized in ancient Persia, said that Shushtar is the first human settlement in Iran and dates back to 10,000 years ago. There are myths in Persian oral history which say Hushang (the second Shāh to rule the world according to Ferdowsi’s Shāhnāmeh) built the city and named it Shushtar (literally means better than Susa) and some other say that it was the first city built after Noah’s storm.

Many cities have turned into cities as a response to village progress but Shushtar has always been a city.

For a comfortable stay in Shushtar, book Tabib Shushtari ecolodge, which is an old house dating back to Qajar’s.

Abolhassan Kharqhani, Persian mystic

“Whoever enters my place, feed them without asking about their faiths. Because if they were favored by the Almighty God who saw them worthy of the gift of life, then they are certainly worth being fed in the house of Aboul Hassan “.

This is the message at the entrance to Abolhassan Kharaghani house.

Abolhassan Kharqhani is one of Medieval Persian mystics. He claimed a deep spiritual relationship with Bayazid Bastami, a well-known Sufi Master.

A group of researchers finds Bayezid’s thoughts influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism. While some find him a Muslim mystic, many others believe that he was more a student of Jesus Christ due to his love to immaterialism

One day, he was walking on a narrow road with his fellows and a dog came. He returned and opened the way for the dog. One of the fellows asked: you are a great mystic with many disciples, you are God’s best creatures, why did you prefer the dog to us? He replies: on the day of the beginning, I became a mystic with many fellows, and that became a dog. Did I do anything right to deserve this or did he do anything bad to be punished?

For those who are visiting Abulhassan’s tomb at Qaleh Now-e Kharaqan village, it would be a great delight to stay at one of the most beautiful Ecolodges with Iranian architecture, Parvin Palace which the staff are very dedicated to Abulhassan also.

Ethnic Groups in Iran

Ethnic groups in Iran[1]

Ethnic groups Percent
Persians (incl. Gilaks and Mazandaranis) 61%
Azerbaijanis 16%
Kurds 10%
Lurs (incl. Bakhtiari people) 6%
Turkmens (and other tribal Turks in Iran) 2%
Arabs 2%
Baloch 2%
Others 1%


  1. Wikipedia

Iranian Turkmen

Iranian Turkmen are a branch of Turkmen people living mainly in northern and northeastern regions of Iran. Their region is called Turkmen Sahra and includes stantial parts of Golestan.

Iranian Turkmens have long time represented a group of semi-nomadic tribes who retained a more traditional way. In Iran lived next Turkmen tribes — Yomut, Goklen, Īgdīr, Saryk, Salar and Teke.

Nearly two million Turkmen can be found living along the northern edges of Iran, just south of the Turkmenistan border. For centuries the Turkmen lived as nomadic herdsmen. In more recent years, however, many have changed to a “semi-nomadic lifestyle,” living in permanent homes as well as in tents. Today most of them are farmers and cattle breeders. Turkmen still live in extended families where various generations can be found under the same roof, especially in rural areas. Many tribal customs still survive among modern Turkmen. Unique to Turkmen culture is kalim, which is a groom’s “dowry” that can be quite expensive and often results in the widely practiced tradition of bridal kidnapping.