Tehran’s Niavaran Cultural and Historical Complex has mounted an exhibition to introduce and celebrate the traditional Yalda festival. The event displays various objects used by former royal families of Iran for Yalda celebrations. The objects belong to the Niavaran treasure house and have been showcased for the first time. Visitors can see exquisite dishes, handmade carpets and cushions, and crystal candlesticks from the Pahlavi era as well as a unique wooden casket belonging to the late Qajar era. Every 21st of December Iranians celebrate the Yalda festival, the arrival of winter, the renewal of the sun and the victory of light over darkness. Considered the longest night of the year, Yalda eve is the night when ancient Iranians celebrated the birth of Mithra, the goddess of light.
Ancient Persians believed that evil forces were dominant on the longest night of the year and that the next day belonged to the Lord of Wisdom, Ahura Mazda.The Persians would burn fires all night to ensure the defeat of evil. They would hold feasts, raise charity, honor their deities and pray to the goddess Mithra. Today the Yalda festival is a time when family members gather at the home of the elders until after midnight. Guests are served with dried fruits, nuts, and winter fruits like pomegranates and watermelons, which symbolize the red color of dawn in the sky. They also practice bibliomancy with the poetry of the highly respected mystic Iranian poet Hafez. Persians believe whenever one is faced with difficulties or has a general question, one can ask the poet for an answer. TE/TE