Stay awake for the longest night of the year sharing stories and eating fruit with friends…
When: Longest night of the year, December 20th / 21st
Where: Iran (Persia).
The Mithraists believed that the longest night of the year is the night when Mithra, Persian god of light and truth, was born, and that he was born at dawn from a virgin mother.
Yalda is a time when family and close friends get together to eat the last of the summer fruit and nuts and stay awake all night sharing stories, feet tucked cosily up under a warm blanket. Ancient custom held belief that staying awake most of the night was protection from misfortune.
Depending on the shift of the calendar, the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the 24 hours that includes the longest night and the shortest day and marks the point when the days start to get longer and the nights shorter, occurs on December 21st or 22nd each year. The longest night always precedes the shortest day.
Food & Drink
Watermelons and pomegranates are traditional as the red symbolises the crimson hues of dawn, the glow of life and the splendour of Mithra. Drink very strong tea or coffee.