Last night, we went to the home of our neighbors for a celebration. Our friends are Persian and every year on December 21, they celebrate the arrival of winter, the renewal of the sun and the victory of light over darkness on a holiday called Yalda.
Traditionally, Yalda is celebrated throughout the night and into the morning. We were with our friends until 10:00pm which is nearly all night for us since we usually turn in around 8:30pm. The dining table was filled with sweets and nuts and cheese and red fruits like watermelon and pomegranate, symbolizing the crimson hues of daybreak and the glow of life. Our hostess is an outstanding baker and she made some little chickpea flour cookies that I need more of in my life.
During the evening, there is a reading of the classic poetry of Divan-e-Hafiz. It is customary to ask a question about life and then turn to a random page in a collection of Hafiz poems, and the verse that you turn to is said to reveal the answer to your question. I took a turn with a Hafiz reading and the answer to my question was on theme with some uncanny details.
We ate and talked for close to three hours. (My two favorite hobbies.) I hope we'll be invited back because I am on board with everything about this holiday. I wish you all a lovely winter solstice.
Stay close to anything that makes you glad you are alive. - Hafiz