Tehran, Parisian photo exhibits feature Yalda Night traditional rites 

December 25, 2020 - 18:29

TEHRAN – Two virtual exhibitions of photos by Iranian photographers are underway in Tehran and Paris in celebration of Yalda Night.

Yalda Night, which fell on December 20 this year, is considered the longest night of the year when the ancient Iranians celebrated the birth of Mithra, the goddess of light. It is also known as Chelleh Night, which alludes to the first 40 days of winter, considered to be the harshest of the season.

The exhibits have been organized by the Art and Cultural Organization of the Tehran Municipality in collaboration with the Iranian Cultural Center in Paris. 

The top selected photos of the two previous editions of the Yalda Night Photo Contest have been displayed in these two exhibits making it a review of Yalda over the past decade.

The photos have been selected by a jury composed of Hassan Ghaffari, Babak Borzuyeh, Majid Nagahi, Aitai Shakibafar and Hossein Karimzadeh. Mohammad-Saleh Hojjatoleslami is the president of the jury.

Samira Ebrahimi, Meysam Amani, Bahram Bayat, Abdollah Heidari, Mohsen Sajjadi, Smaaneh Shirazi and Hadi Asgari are among the participating photographers.

The exhibit in Tehran is available at doorbin.net/gallery until December 31, and in Paris at http://shabeyalda.fr until January 20. 

People on Yalda Night are usually served with fresh fruits and a mixture of dry fruits, seeds and nuts in floral bowls.

Following a hot dinner, many people often recite poetry, narrate stories, chant, play musical instruments or just chat cozily until midnight or so.

Storytelling by parents and grandparents is a key element of the celebration, however, this year people were asked to celebrate the night without any gatherings as COVID-19 has claimed the lives of dozens of people per day in the country.

Photo: This combination photo shows posters for the two Yalda Night photo exhibits in Tehran and Paris.


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