In the last weeks of the year 2022, Yalda night was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Yalda Night or Chellah Night is a festival in Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and parts of Turkey celebrated on the winter solstice. This corresponds to the night of December 20/21 and refers to a traditional celebration of the sun and the warmth of life. Practiced in the mentioned countries, the event takes place on the last night of autumn, when families gather at the houses of elders and sit around a table adorned with a series of symbolic objects and foods: a lamp to symbolize light, water to represent cleanliness, and red fruits such as pomegranates, watermelons and grapes to symbolize warmth. Broth, sweets, dried fruits and nuts that are used specifically for the occasion are also set on the table and consumed during the gathering. Many varieties of fruits and sweets especially prepared or kept for this night are served. In some areas it is believed that forty varieties of edibles should be served during the ceremony of the night of Yalda. The most typical is watermelon especially kept from summer for this ceremony. It is believed that consuming watermelons on the night of Yalda would 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. After dinner the older individuals entertain the others by telling them tales and anecdotes. Another favorite and prevalent pastime of the night of Yalda is divination by the Divan of Ḥafeẓ.