Celebrations of the World

Thursday, December 4, 2008 

Passport to Persia joined all of the Passport to the World cultures to represent the Persian tradition of Shabeh Yalda.

This winter celebration is the longest night of the year and the winter solstice. It is also interchangable with “Shabeh Cheleh”.  Shabeh Yalda is around December 21.

Traditionally on this night the forces of Ahriman are at the peak of their strength. The next day, the first day of the month of ‘Dey’ known as ‘khoram rooz’ or ‘khore rooz’ (the day of sun) belongs to Ahura Mazda, the Lord of Wisdom. Since the days are getting longer and the nights shorter, this day marks the victory of Sun over darkness.

On this night, family and friends gather for a large feast. Various dried fruits, nuts, seeds and fresh winter fruits are provided at these events to celebrate. Poetry from Hafez can be read and fortunes are told in the tradition of the night.

Passport to Persia representatives dressed in traditional Persian costumes; shared watermelon, pomegranate, and nuts with the museum patrons.  Stories were read and coloring sheets of Persian images were colored, and keepsake bookmarks were made.