Saturday, December 21, 2013

Shabe Yalda

"The true morning will not come, until the Yalda Night is gone."  -- Sa'adi, Bustan

My mini Shabe Yalda table

Tonight Iranians are celebrating Shabe Yalda, Yalda Night, or the winter solstice. Like many traditions in Iran, Shabe Yalda is rooted in Zoroastrianism. Yalda is the Syriac word for birth, and it marks the birthday of the ancient Persian god of light and cosmic order, Mithra. The longest night of the year is celebrated as a symbol of light conquering darkness, good conquering evil. Shabe Yalda has also come to symbolize many things in Persian poetry, such as loneliness, waiting, and separation from a loved one. The same way that light triumphs over darkness, waiting and loneliness are over, and goodness prevails. 

 نظر به روی تو هر بامداد نوروزیست
شب فراق تو هر شب که هست یلدایست
"The sight of you each morning is a New Year,
Any night of your departure is the eve of Yalda." --Saa'di

هنوز با همه دردم امید درمانست
که آخری بود آخر شبان یلدا را
"With all my pains, there is still the hope of recovery,
Like the eve of Yalda, there will finally be an end."  --Sa'adi

Divan-e Hafez

On Shabe Yalda, families get together and stay up all night sharing stories and reading poetry, particularly poems of the beloved Hafez. It's also tradition to eat ajeelred fruits such as pomegranates and watermelon, and, of course, drink plenty of tea. The red fruits symbolize the red of dawn and the light that will henceforth become longer. 

Anaar (pomegranate)

Khormaaloo (persimmon)

Check out this great video with more detailed information about Shaba Yalda from Press TV. And for our Spanish-speakers, one from HispanTV's Iran Program. 

Shabe Yalda Mobarak to everyone!!


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