Behbahani, Siavash Culture
Dr Siavash Behbahani and celebration of his Persian Culture
Yalda Night, or “Shabeh Yalda”
As you might know I am Iranian, and we celebrate Persian culture.
Today, as we are experiencing cold weather, I’d like to share with you an upcoming holiday called, Yalda Night, or “Shabeh Yalda”, which celebrates “the longest and darkest night of the year.” This is essentially, the night before the first day of Winter (no reference to Game of Throne’s Winter is coming- hahah), and falls generally on Dec 20th/21st.
In this long, cold, and dark night, friends and family get together to eat, drink and read poetry to provide a warm, supportive, spiritual, unified, and fun ambience. Candles and certain colorful seasonal fruits, such as pomegranate and watermelon, as well some nuts, are served as snacks. There is a significant focus on poetry which provides a spiritual and/or romantic ambience for the night. As a result, Haafez’s poetry book, one of the major poetry books in persian culture, is always placed on the table with the candles/food.
Obviously, due to covid people are not celebrating it physically, but interestingly, I have been invited to some virtual events, so I am glad I’d get my healthy dose of poetry this month.
There are few very unique dates that come from ancient Persian culture, the most important one is the New Year, called Norouz, which is the first day of spring (March 21st-ish).