These days Christian countries around the world are getting ready for Christmas, all streets, stores, and houses are decorated with light for this festive season. For Iranian, it’s different because they are getting ready for one of their most important nights of year “Yalda Night”.
What is Yalda Night?
Yalda is the birth of Mehr. This celebration is coming from the time when the majority of Persian were followers of Zoroastrianism prior advent of Islam. Ancient Iranian recognized that the winter solstice was the longest night of the year. Therefore, on the last night of Fall (the longest night of the year) before the sun completely rises, one can sense the glimmer of sunlight which they called Mehr. This night is from 20 to 21 December according to the Georgian calendar. Iranian celebrate this time as the birth of the sun or celebration of Yalda also known as Cheleh.
How does Iranian celebrate Yalda Night?
People stay awake for most of the night and they gather together with a group of friends and relatives and share the last remaining fruits from the summer. They would especially go to their grandparents’ house. Eat, drink and read poetry (Hafez) during the whole evening to pass the darkest evening of the year with laughter and joy. Honestly, this evening is filled with a different type of food.
Among all the edibles, the following are more common to be served at Yalda.
Fruits: watermelon, pomegranates, apples, pears, persimmons, and cooked beets.
Ajil: a combination of nuts most commonly such as pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, and raisins.
Beverages: tea and a variety of Sherbet such as Saffron or meant tea or Sherbet.
Meal: rice and fish if possible, otherwise, one of the local foods depending on each city.
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