Yalda Night ceremony is one of the ancient traditions of Iran and an occaision to gather and celebrate the abundance of blessings. Observed in the beginning of winter, Yalda is the longest night of the year.
As Iranian literature professor Ardeshir Salehpour says, “Yalda is the start of the cold-weather celebrations. It is the celebration of nature. It’s a traditional Iranian ritual, and most importantly it is a bond between the traditional Iranian and European cultures”.
On this joyful night, people come together, tell stories, eat delicious foods and fruits, have nuts, and read poems by Iranian world-known poet Hafiz.
Some of the fruits served at this night are watermelons and pomegranates. Professor Salehpour adds “pomegranate is an Iranian fruit. It is a fruit from the East and Europe has no pomegranate. It is a symbol of diversity within unity. We use fruits that are red or yellow, which are the symbol of the sun. Watermelon has the utmost red color which is symbolically known as the core of the sun”.
In past years, you could observe excited people happily getting ready for the ceremony, and all the shopping halls and groceries were crowded with the people who couldn’t wait for the night, but this year, due to the situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, people are advised to stay home and have in-family fun.
Here are some photos of Iranians who are buying the necessary stuff for Yalda Night.