Shab e Yaldá شب یلدا
with Moná Kiani from Englisi Farsi
Yaldá means Rebirth of the sun. It is a celebration of the triumph of light over darkness and falls on the winter solstice.
It is the longest and darkest night of the year (in the northern hemisphere) and customary to reside indoors seeking refuge from the darkness to welcome the new light.
Eat delicious food, read meaningful stories and Persian poetry (Hafez & Sa’adí).
Nuts, fruits (especially pomegranate and watermelon) and Persian sharbat (home made fruit cordials) are the key features of this tradition. The red colour in the watermelon/pomegranate signifies the glow of life in the colour of Dawn. When celebrating traditionally everyone stays up reading poetry, singing & dancing until the dawn.
But with three young kids we usually still stick to our usual bedtimes.
Some families light a fire outside the family home and gather around a Korsí کرسی (a low table covered by a blanket overhanging on all sides with a heater placed under the table).
In our home, we make a korsi and gather around eating nuts, pomegranate and watermelon. The funny thing is its usually sweltering hot in Australia so we don’t always switch on the heater! But gather around to eat together, playing Persian music and reading Persian stories.
There’s an old Persian saying that loosely translates to: Wishing you a long and happy life, like shabe yaldá, sweet as a watermelon & fruitful as pomegranate.
Learn the Persian word for Watermelon & Pomegranate.
See images below: