Celebrating Shab-e-Yalda or winter solstice is amongst the most ancient Persian social gatherings. One of my favorite memories of Shab-e-Yalda concerns an old tradition of honoring newlyweds on
their first Shab-e-Yalda as married couples. It is customary that the groom’s family sends a gift–often a piece of gold–along with edible items to the bride’s house. Families who could financially afford serving guests would invite a group of people to witness the process in which a long line of people from groom’s side with trays of sweets, fruits and nuts and gifts enter the bride’s house. I remember as a young girl growing up in Iran, I was overjoyed to see how a long night is spent in excitement and laughter. And above all, the colorful gifts and decorated fresh or dried fruit baskets offered to the bride seemed like a royal treatment.
However, there are more to celebrating this night. Take a look at my recent piece for Parsianesquemagazine.com to find out more about the significance of Yalda and its history. Yalda celebration has lost its religious meanings today among Iranians, but has stayed unaltered as a social festival of spending time together. Getting through dark and cold winter and honor the upcoming spring when Persian new year takes place are some of the fundamental basis for this special occasion.