Abu Rihan al-Biruni says about the reason for the celebration of Shab-e Cheleh in the book Asar al-Baqiyah: “And this is the name of the birthday of Akbar and the purpose of it is the Shatwa revolution. It is said that on this day the light goes out of excess to greatness and people begin to grow and appear. “They turn to perdition.”
According to ISNA, Ashkan Zarei – a researcher – in a note provided to ISNA, said: “According to the events of the ancient Iranians, the four well-known seasons had realized their movement over the year. So according to their calendar, they had a party at the beginning of each month. As Nowruz was celebrated in the spring of Tirgan in the summer of Mehregan in the fall and Shab-e Cheleh was celebrated at the beginning of winter.
Aware of the knowledge of astronomy, our ancestors wisely realized that the first night of winter is also the longest night of the year on the 1st of January. (Reason) because from the 1st of January to the 10th of Bahman, the cold became more and more severe. Thus, the ritual of the longest night of the year was called Shab-e Cheleh.
With the arrival of the Syriac Tersaians (Christians) to Iran during the Parthian kingdom, the Syriac word “Yalda” in Cham (meaning) of birth, which is the birth of the sun, remained next to the name of Shab-e Cheleh. In a conclusive argument about the word Yalda, it is said: “Yalda is the first night of winter and the last night of autumn, and it is the longest night.”
The origins of Shab-e Cheleh must be traced back to Mehri’s beliefs, when before the rise of Zarathustra a mixture of pure Iranian ideas about how the universe was created, the fertility of the earth, and the veneration of enlightenment emerged in a ritual called seal worship. The seal is a symbol of the covenant of friendship, kindness, light and brightness, and has always been considered a sign of light in the eyes of earthlings in the beliefs of the sun, on the other hand, since the occupation of the people of that time was agriculture and pastoralism, the more the sun appears in the sky There was a lot in their lives.
Abu Rihan al-Biruni says about the reason for the celebration of Shab-e Cheleh in the book Asar al-Baqiyah: “They turn to perdition.”
Hence, the ancient Iranians worshiped God on such a small and small night with joy and dancing until dawn. On this night, they prepared a reading called “Mizd” from which the word “host” is derived. On this red-decorated stew, lork nuts with red fruits were placed to symbolize the red of the sun, such as pomegranate, watermelon, apple and red grapes.
The fire also symbolized the stability of light, the cypress tree symbolizing the sun’s standing and height, and a bright star at the top, reminiscent of the sun’s rays, and two strings of silver and gold representing galaxies near and far from the sun.
Since the sun is a symbol of old age, longevity and life-giving in the eyes of Iranians, in the celebration of Shab-e Cheleh, this function was seen in the form of grandparents, who were considered to be the source of family unity and solidarity, bringing children together through storytelling.
On this night, the woodcutter also offered firewood to each house with a red cover to keep the fireplace burning. Forty hymns or forty hymns of Hafiz’s fortune-telling and Shahnameh reading were other parts of the Shab-e Cheleh ritual that were added over time.
The high position of Shab-e Cheleh or Yalda celebration in Iranian literature is also well visible because many Chakamehs such as: Ansari, Manouchehri, Naser Khosrow, Sanaei, Masoud Saad Salman, Moezi Khaghani, etc. have written about this celebration. As Saadi says:[و] “Looking at you is every morning of Nowruz / The night of your parting is Yalda wherever it is”
One of the features of Shab-e Cheleh coincided with the celebration of Digan on the 1st of January, which was also called Khor Rooz or Khorramrooz.
In ancient Iran, the first day of the month of Ormazd or Ahuramazda was called “the greatest sage of existence”. Also, Di or Dazoo to Cham (meaning) is “Creation and Creator”, which was celebrated in this month with three celebrations of Di Azar Dibmehr and Dibdin.
The celebration of Shab-e Cheleh, along with the ritual of Mehr, crossed the borders of Iran. During the Parthian rulers’ wars with Eastern Rome, it spread to the west of the earth, so that it remained a follower of the Persian Mehr ritual until four centuries after the emergence of the Roman religion. They held a rally.
Thus, in the fourth century AD, Constantine I was forced to combine some of Mehri’s ideas with the religion of fear, in addition to using force, in order to make it easier for people to accept the new religion.
As some consider the origins of the Tersa religion to be a seal, there are more than ten similar similarities, the most prominent of which is the coincidence of the feast of the Nativity of Jesus Christ on the twenty-fifth of December with the first of January, which in the fourth century AD The year took place on December 25th. Thus, the celebration of Christmas is a model for the Iranian people. Abu Rihan al-Biruni says about this in “Asar al-Baqiya”: “Shab-e Cheleh in the Roman religion is Eid-ul-Adha and that is the birth of Christ”.
The Shab-e Cheleh ritual is always held in the labyrinth of Iranian history, in a longitude and latitude from the Indian subcontinent to Iraqi Kurdistan and Anatolia, and from the Caucasus and Farrood to the shores of the Persian Sea. . Undoubtedly (reason) the permanence and pervasiveness of this celebration should be sought in its moral and human teachings.
Where Persian-speakers and Iranians celebrate the beginning of winter in the hope of a better future by rejoicing in thanksgiving and praying to the Creator, they celebrate the coming of light as a symbol of good overcoming evil with the celebration of the elderly.
Now that the Iranian world has been made dark by the evil demon of Corona, we must glorify the ritual of the longest night of the year by adhering to hygienic rules and avoiding family periods only with our spouses and children in the hope of change and a bright tomorrow.
“Let’s revive Shab-e Cheleh and other Iranian celebrations, because if we get acquainted with their roots, the secret of Iran’s stability, the secret of the permanence of Iranian culture and the efforts of the Iranian people to achieve human ideals and moral values will be revealed to us.”
Subsidiary (sources): “Calendar and Celebrations of Ancient Iran” – Hashem Razi -, “Ain Mehr” – Hashem Razi -, “Bagh Mehr” – Ahmad Hami -, “Jahan Farrooi” – Bahram Farhoushi -, “Culture and Myths of Iran” – Rahim Afifi -, “Yalda religion” – Fereydoon Junidi -, “Ancient celebrations and rituals in Iran today” – Mahmoud Ruholami -, “Iranian celebrations” – Bahram Asgari -, “Iranian philosophical thoughts” – Abolghasem Parto-.
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