Yalda, an ancient Persian tradition, is the last night of the autumn and the longest of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. It falls on December 31 this year.
Iranians and other people in historically Persian-influenced regions, including Azerbaijan Republic, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, traditionally turn the “longest and darkest night” of the year into a jubilant occasion.
They get together with friends and family to eat, drink and read poetry, especially by iconic Persian poet Hafez, and the Shahnameh by Ferdowsi, another Persian poet, until well after midnight.
They usually have fruits, especially pomegranates and watermelons, and nuts.