“Encyclopedia of Studies on Stories about Yalda” has been published in 16 volumes, which contain over 8,000 stories collected by a team of 70 experts, researchers and editors under the leadership of Ali Khanjani within five years.
All the stories in this collection have been collected from over 220 different sources, Khanjani has said.
“The collection also contains detailed information about the original narrators, writers and collectors, and the primary and secondary messages of the stories,” he said.
“Other information such as prayers, oaths and curses are also offered in this collection,” he added.
“Introducing the hidden values of Persian culture in the venerable tales to international assemblies, world researchers and folklorists are among the main goals of this collection,” he noted.
He added that each story has its own international code based on Aarne Thompson Uther Index (ATU Index).
The ATU Index is the product of a series of revisions and expansions by an international group of scholars, originally composed in German by Finnish folklorist Antti Aarne (1910). The index was translated into English, revised and expanded by American folklorist Stith Thompson (1928, 1961), and later further revised and expanded by German folklorist Hans-Jorg Uther (2004). The ATU Index is an essential tool for folklorists.
The collection is available at the IIDCYA bookstores.
Yalda, the last evening of autumn and the beginning of winter is a ceremonious, auspicious time for Iranians and lovers of Iranian traditions everywhere on earth.
Nationally called “Shab-e Yalda” or “Shab-e-Chelleh”, it literally means the night of the forty. This refers to the first forty days of winter that are often the coldest and toughest to bear.
The story of Yalda may perhaps be interpreted as a tale of courage and effort during darkness, a triumph of light and human warmth that ultimately causes the spring to bloom in hearts.
People on Yalda Night are usually served with fresh fruits and a mixture of dry fruits, seeds and nuts in floral bowls. To Iranians, fruits are reminders of abundance in summer. Watermelon and pomegranates, as symbols of bounty, are the traditional fresh fruits of this night. It is believed that eating watermelon before the arrival of winter can immunize the body against illness.
Following a hot dinner, many people often recite poetry, narrate stories, chant, play musical instruments or just chat cozily until midnight or so.