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Yaldā Night (Persian: شب یلدا shab-e yalda) or Chelleh Night (Persian: شب چلّه shab-e chelle) is an Iranian Northern Hemisphere's winter solstice festival celebrated on the "longest and darkest night of the year."[rs 1] According to the calendar, this corresponds to the night of December 20/21 (±1) in the Gregorian calendar, and to the night between the last day of the ninth month (Azar) and the first day of the tenth month (Dey)[rs 2] of the Iranian solar calendar.[rs 2]
The longest and darkest night of the year is a time when friends and family gather together to eat, drink and read poetry (especially Hafez) and the Shahnameh until well after midnight. Fruits and nuts are eaten and pomegranates and watermelons are particularly significant. The red color in these fruits symbolizes the crimson hues of dawn and glow of life.
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