Yalda Night Celebration, watering the tree of hope and joy in the longest night of the year
Yalda Festival, Jashn-e Shab-e Yalda, is an Iranian festival celebrated on the longest night of the year that is, in the night of the Northern Hemisphere's winter solstice. Calendrically, this corresponds to the night of December 20/21 (±1) in the Gregorian calendar, and to the night between the last day of the ninth month, Azar, and the first day of the tenth month, Dey, of the Iranian calendar.
Yalda Festival is a time when friends and family gather together to eat, drink, dance, sing and read poetry especially Hafez until well after midnight. Fruits and nuts are eaten and pomegranates and watermelons are particularly important. The red color in these fruits symbolizes the crimson hues of dawn and glow of life.
Central Asian countries such as Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and some Caucasian states such as Azerbaijan and Armenia share the same tradition as well and celebrate Yalda Night annually at this time of the year.