شب یلدا مبارک shab-e yalda mobarak 🍉
December 21st marks the winter solstice, the longest night of the year for those who call the northern hemisphere home. in iran, we celebrate this transition as shab-e yalda, which means the night of the rebirthing sun. as i type this, the unmistakable aroma of fesenjoon and tachin rises from the kitchen. the sofreh (altar) is adorned with pomegranates, persimmons, watermelon, dried fruits & nuts, candles, and the sacred books of hafiz.
tonight we will dance with the night; drinking tea, reading poetry and telling stories, until we welcome the winter's dawn. we will eat watermelon in gratitude to the autumn harvest and the summer to come. we will remember and celebrate our ancestors, who have carried the tradition of yalda forward for thousands of years, through even darker times than ours.
as i watch my child powder saffron with my mother's mortar and pestle and joyfully dancing to parvin, i see something ancient in her. something i remember, but can't quite explain. something so beautiful and dear that my heart hurts with aliveness. something that feels like hope, but the hope carried by all those who stood before us, who survived long enough for us to enjoy this night.
it is customary for yalda night to tell stories and share poems with your loved ones until the dawn rises. it is with this ritual in mind, that i share a poem with you all.
the light returns, drink it deep,
Artwork by Shereen Audi, poem by Mandana Boushee