Iranians to Celebrate the Longest Night of the Year

Wednesday, December 20, 2017 - 14:43

December 21, 2017 is the shortest day and longest night of the year for people in the Northern hemisphere.

The Iranian observance of midwinter is known as Yalda night. The word ‘yalda’ means birth, and the festival celebrates the renewal of the sun and the birth of Mithra, the goddess of light. The tradition dates back to when people followed the Zoroastrian religion, prior to the advent of Islam.

Central Asian countries such as Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and some Caucasian states such as Azerbaijan and Armenia share the same tradition as well and celebrate Yalda Night annually at this time of the year.

Watermelon, pomegranate and dried nuts are served as a tradition and classic poetry and old mythologies are read in the gathering. Getting a ‘Hafez reading’ from the book of great Persian poet Shamsu d-Din Muhammad Hafez-e Shirazi is also practiced in this night.

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