Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Happy Yalda Night
Yalda is the longest night of the year, which Iranians has celebrated for centuries. Yalda, Shab-e Yalda, or Shab-e Chelleh is the Persian winter solstice celebration which has been popular since ancient times. Yalda is celebrated on the Northern Hemisphere's longest night of the year, that is, on the eve of the Winter Solstice. Depending on the shift of the calendar, Yalda is celebrated on or around December 20 or 21 each year. Yalda has a history as long as the religion of Mithraism. The Mithraists believed that this night is the night of the birth of Mithra, Persian angel of light and truth. At the morning of the longest night of the year, Mithra was born. Following the fall of the Sassani Empire and the subsequent rise of Islam in Iran, the religious significance of the event was lost, and like other Zoroastrian festivals, Yalda became a social occasion when family and close friends would get together. Nonetheless, the obligatory serving of fresh fruit during mid-winter is reminiscent of the ancient customs of invoking the divinities to request protection of the winter crop. On this night people enjoy eating water melons and pommogranets. The 13th century Persian poet Sa'di wrote in his Bustan:
                         "The true morning will not come, until the Yalda Night is gone".                
Happy Yalda and may your hearts be full of warmth and happiness