Photos: Yalda Night Shopping in Tehran

shopping-for-yalda-night-tehran-11.jpgPhotos by Fatemeh Behboudi, Mehr News Agency
The last eve of autumn and the beginning of winter is a ceremonious and auspicious night for Iranians. Known as the longest and darkest night of the year, December 21st is celebrated in the memory of the victory of light over darkness. ‘Yalda’ (in Syriac, a dialect of old Aramaic language, means ‘birth’) marks the birth of winter and the triumph of the sun as the days grow longer and colder.

Yalda Night as called in the Persian solar calendar is a night with especial ceremonies. Families get together on Yalda Night at the home of the elders until after midnight. They are served with dried fruits, nuts, and winter fruits like pomegranates and watermelons, which are said to symbolize the red color of dawn in the sky. They also recite poems of highly respected mystic Iranian poet, Hafez (read more)

These photos by Fatemeh Behboudi show people shopping in the capital city Tehran in preparation for the Yalda Night.