On Wednesday, December 21, from 8:30 PM EST to 12:00 AM EST the fellows and their guests gathered to celebrate the longest night of the Persian calendar.
Shabe Yalda, or Yalda night is an evening of festivities and merriment that begins when the sun sets on the last day of fall(last day of Maah e Azar on Jalali Calendar) and continues until the dawn of the first day of winter, or first day of Maah e Dey.
During this night persians read the enchanting poems by Hafez حافظ, and great Persian mythology such as Shahnameh شاهنامه , Khosro va Shireen خسرو و شیرین, Leili va Majnoon لیلی و مجنون making this otherwise cold winter night a delightful gathering with family and friends. Yalda is a night full of hope for the future.
َThere is a saying in Farsi that goes something like this: I wish you a long and happy life like Shabe Yalda, sweet as watermelon and fruitful as pomegranates!
A guest speaker explained more of the history and traditions behind Shabe Yalda and then the fellows and their guests moved upstairs for a bonfire with snacks and drinks under the stars. Together everyone prayed for a joyful new year!