How to Celebrate Yalda with Kids
Keep reading for kid-friendly ideas on how to include children and make this holiday meaningful and memorable.
Yalda is the longest night of the year and during it, families often read poety and stories. Not only is this a definite activity on Yalda evening but it is a nice way to set the stage for Yalda Night by learning more about it with books like those from Anahita Tammadon who has written two bilingual books (Night of Yalda and Yalda Night Celebration) explaining the significance of Yalda in kid-friendly stories. Shahnameh for Kids provides kid-friendly versions of stories from Ferdowsi’s famous epic that are great to read on Yalda night including The Story of Zal and Simorgh, The Mighty Rostam and The Bravery of Gordarfarid.
Crafts are a great way to build excitement and anticipation about the holiday. Kids love crafts and they can be used to decorate around the home leading up to Yalda Night. Inside our Yalda Activity Box you’ll find Yalda themed crafts with all the supplies included. It’s delivered right to your door! Interested in more? Grab the Yalda Digital Download with 30+ pages of activities that you can instantly download and print at home year after year.
It’s important to show our children the relevance of Persian culture outside of our own homes so use this time to spread cheer and connect with friends and family the old fashioned way by sending greeting cards by snail mail. They need not be fancy - kids can make their own!
Ajil is a mixture of dried fruit, nuts and seeds that makes a great snack while talking the night away with family and friends. You can combine your own combination of ingredients but it’s extra special to include items like Shirazi figs and “tut/toot” which are dried white mulberries - a real treat! Find them at your local Persian market or order online at PersianBasket.com If you are giving handing out Yalda greeting cards in person to friends, family or teachers, a bag of this makes a great gift to go along with it.
Make an event out of shopping for fruits to share on Yalda night. Watermelon is considered essential to boost immunity for the long cold winter ahead. You’ll also want pomegranates and persimmons representing the color of sun filled days to come. Want to make it really fun? Try to find a Persian market near you!
Invite family friends (with children!) to join on Yalda Night. Since children likely won't stay up to the wee hours of the night, start festivities when it's dark and include kid-friendly elements like battery operated candles, children's book and drinking hot juice or herbal tea.
Visit your child’s classroom to share about Yalda with classmates. Check our FREE Yalda Classroom Kit for resources to use.
A lot of special memories are made in the kitchen. A classic Yalda dish is fesenjun, a dish made with ground walnuts and pomegranate molasses. It takes a lot of time to cook it down, so it’s the perfect dish to get help with and have older children stir (with supervision) and watch. Another classic on Yalda Night is ash-e reshte - a thick soup made of herbs, beans and noodles.
A sofreh is an elegant cloth used to cover a table or floor and decorated with holiday themed foods and decor. Allow your child to play a role by assigning items to find and set up or having him/her contribute with meaningful items. It may be helpful to make a list of items ahead of time and have your child search for and place these items on your sofreh or in a separate area just for kids if desired.
Enjoy this lovely evening with your child. The celebrations of today make memories for a lifetime and traditions for generations to come!