• LK Bonabi

Yalda Night

Hello my lovely readers, you won't find a recipe in this edition of my blog but you will find links to those delicious and terribly naughty delights in the pictures I'll be sharing with you here.

The main picture is my Yalda table for Shab-e-Yalda or sometimes referred to as Shab-e-Chelleh (Chelleh Night), the longest and darkest night of the year, also known as the winter solstice. This year the longest night falls on the 21st of December.

Yalda is a very special, cultural and traditional celebration in Iran for all Iranians. It is a night of gathering with friends and family and sitting the night out, eating fruits, nuts (ajil), traditional sweets, savoury foods and reading poetry from the book of Hafez, the famous Persian poet.

The type of fruit eaten during Yalda has special significance. Red is a prominent colour and red fruits such as pomegranates and watermelons symbolise the crimson hues of dawn and the vivacity of life itself. During pre-Islamic period when Mithraism was practised by Persians, the colour red symbolised the red colour of the dawn sun.

Shab-e-Yalda Table

Depending on which region of Iran you come from, the savoury foods will differ to reflect what is put on the Yalda table. I'll mention a few here; Fesenjoon, Ash-e-Reshte, Mahi Polo, Kalam Polo and Dolmeh.

Shab-e-Yalda Table - Dolmeh

So why sit the whole night? Well the significance of this, apart from enjoying the company of family, friends and good food is based on the victory of light over darkness or good over evil. The Mithraists (those who practised Mithraism in pre-islamic Iran) believed that Mithra, the Persian god of light and truth, was born on the longest night of the year, Yalda, hence symbolising the Sun god overcoming the powers of darkness.

In ancient times on this long night people were told to gather in groups and stay up all night and stay on guard in case the evil forces of Ahriman, Lord of darkness should besiege them.

Now lets not forget the dessert or sweet things eaten during Yalda. I've made quite a few and will share with you here. The first one is my Baklava cake which I've cut into diamonds. You can also find the video on my YouTube Channel L K Bonabi.

Shab-e-Yalda Table - Baklava Cake

Next one is Baslogh, I've made them small enough to pop into the mouth easily. Lovely coconut covered gelatinous rosewater scrumptiousness. In the background you can also see my saffron version.

Shab-e-Yalda Table - Baslogh

You can find Nokhodchi (Chick Pea Roses) and Naan Berenji (Rice Flour Cookies) here.

I hope you enjoyed this blog and getting to know what Yalda is about. Wishing you a very happy Yalda - Yalda Mobarak :)

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