Iranians around the world celebrate Yalda, one of the oldest Persian feasts. It dates from the time when the majority of Persians were supporters of Zoroastrianism before the advent of Islam.
On the feast of Yalda, the Iranians celebrate the renewal of the sun and the victory of light over the darkness. Considered the longest night of the year, Yalda is a festival celebrated by the Iranians since of antiquity to celebrate the birth of Mithra, the goddess of light.
Yalda, which means birth, is a Syriac word imported into the Persian language. It is also called Shab-e Chelleh, a celebration of the winter solstice on December 21 - the last night of autumn and the longest night of the year.
The ancient Persians believed that the forces of evil dominate the longest night of the year and that the next day belongs to the Lord of Wisdom, Ahura Mazda.
Yalda is a time when friends and families gather to talk to each other, eat and read the poems of Hafez until dawn. Among the fruits served during the evening, the consumption of pomegranate and watermelon is unavoidable.
The ancient texts indicate that the red color of these fruits symbolizes the crimson shades of dawn and the light of life, invoking the splendor of Mithras.