December 21 is known as Yalda Night for Iran, the longest night of the Iranian solar year. Yalda Night is a night with very special ceremonies. Families gather together on Yalda Night with elders until well after midnight. During Yalda Night dried fruits and winter fruits such as watermelon and pomegranate is feasted on to symbolize the skyâ€™s red color. Iranians recite their favorite poems by Hafez, a highly respected Iranian poet.
The Night Of Yalda literally means The Night Of Birth. This gives Iranians a good time to spend with friends, family, and other loved ones. Yalda is deeply rooted in Iranian history and is known to demonstrate the eagerness of Iranâ€™s strong family ties. The tradition of Yalda Night dates back to ancient Persia thousands of years ago and is still celebrated. Yalda is primarily celebrated in the Northern hemisphere of the country on the eve of the Winter Solstice. Depending on the calendar year, Yalda Night can either be celebrated on Decement 20th or 21st every year. In 2008, Yalda Night was added to Iranâ€™s List Of National Treasures.
According to the Iranian mythology, Yalda night is the bringing of light and triump over darkness for the days to come. This celebration takes place on the darkest and longest night each year. Yalda Nightâ€™s traditions are intended to help protect people from any misfortune in the coming year. Iranian television and radio will offer special programming for Yalda Night.
Many Iranians will be seen in mahali, the traditional clothing. Food is placed on the Korsi, a traditional table used for Yalda, so friends and family can eat. Although this is a highly celebrated tradition, some families will choose to simply make phone calls to their friends and family instead of getting together. As a parting gift, many families offer bags of dried fruits to family and friends.