To be with each other, should not stay together

08 January 2022

Yalda night or Chelleh night is the name chosen for the night of the beginning of winter.

Dr. Ladan Adib Eshgh


Yalda means birth, and on Yalda night, passing the longest night of the year and subsequent longer daylight hours is celebrated.

In Iranian culture, it is traditional for family members to gather on Yalda night. Reading Shahnameh, fortune telling, listening to beautiful memories and stories of grandparents, lighting candles, listening to music and eating pomegranate, watermelon and nuts are some of the beautiful traditions of this ancient celebration. Watermelon is a symbol of summer’s heat and a sign of staying away from cold and disease until the end of winter, pomegranate is a symbol of happiness and birth and nuts of Yalda night is considered as a symbol of the importance of healthy nutrition.

But this year’s Yalda will certainly not be like the previous Yaldas. Coronavirus is an uninvited guest on our Yalda table this year.

Gatherings are the main cause of virus transmission, familial infection and the occurrence of consecutive coronavirus mutations. Gathering together on Yalda night can also be associated with more virus outbreaks and damage to the health of our friends and relatives; and finally, it increases the workload and fatigue of the medical staff, who have a serious responsibility to save people’s lives in the worst conditions and are still at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, serving with all their hearts and souls.

Yalda night in our tradition defines the “being together”; although, contains great lessons, too. The main philosophy of Yalda is being together and enjoy the moments close to each other. The symbols of Yalda are signs of happiness, health and avoidance of disease. To realize the beautiful philosophy of Yalda, let’s experience being together, virtually this year. Using features such as multi-person video calling, sending voice and video messages, buying Yalda night snacks online or sending a small gift to your loved ones can be a good alternative for physical presence together. Yalda night has gained such a special esteem as a result of its one minute longer duration, so the greatness of our years together and living together cannot be described in words. The only way to protect this great value is to consider social distancing. The sweetness of tonight’s smiles, while brought together virtually, is thousands of times more valuable than the tears of regret that can be the result of a moment of neglect on this beautiful night.

In the current difficult situation, many lessons can be learned from this long night of the year and big steps can be taken to perhaps reduce the frustration of nurses and medical staff; make people’s hearts happier; reduce the incidence and mortality of COVID-19 and see the day of carefree gathering together again and spend other Yalda nights together.

Let’s not forget that the members of the medical staff have not presented in valuable moments with their loved ones during the last two years; to be the peace of our loved ones. Between the lines of tonight’s happiness, pause for a moment, close our eyes, and imagine ourselves for a minute in their white robes at the medical centers. The only thing we can do is to follow the protocols so that we may be able to sweeten the working moments of these health angels a little and reduce the work pressure of these loved ones to a small degree and give this most valuable minute of the year as a gift to the health defenders and wish all their tiredness go away by dawn.

بر سر آنم که گر ز دست برآید               دست به کاری زنم که غصه سر آید

If I could, I’m trying to do something that terminates the grief!

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To be with each other, should not stay together