The Longest Night


The Longest Night
by Nazy Kaviani

A beautiful crystal bowl, filled with clear water sat in the middle of the coffee table in my parents’ living room.  It was surrounded by bowls and plates of fruit, dried nuts and candy, Ajeel, pastries, seeded pomegranates, and bright red watermelon.  My mother’s silver candlesticks had fresh candles in them, giving the room a poetic glow.  My father’s old Hafez sat prominently on a side table, untouchable by the rest of us, waiting for him alone to announce the appropriate moment.  My brother played his setar and its sweet sound warmed up the group sitting around him. 

It was Yalda, the longest night of the year at winter solstice.  A young boy, my nephew, picked up the water bowl and started making the rounds around the room.  Each person he faced made a wish, and dropped a small sign, a ring, a coin, an earring, into the bowl of shimmering clear water.  Once everyone’s sign was put in the water, he returned the bowl to the table.  My father picked up his Hafez, prayed, and opened a page.  He would start reading the poem aloud.  Everyone listened.  Nobody knew whose fa’al this was…yet.  After he was done, the young boy would close his eyes and reach inside the water bowl, pulling out one of the signs and hold it up.  That is when we knew in response to whose wish Hafez had just spoken.  Everyone exclaimed and laughed, talking about the poem.  Then my father would open his Hafez book again to read another poem, and we would all listen, waiting to find out whose poem it was this time, until everyone’s was done.  

Yalda, the long night of memories, the night of sweet poems, the night of hope, the night of the purest Iranian celebration, is the year’s sweetest and warmest and most beautiful night for me.  Happy Yalda.


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Arash Monzavi-Kia

Dear Nazy - happy Yalda

by Arash Monzavi-Kia on

Thanks for the nice post. May your Yalda's be joyous and your winters fun.

Nazy Kaviani

Thank you!

by Nazy Kaviani on

Thank you all for your kind comments. It was another beautiful celebration with wonderful friends, Hafez, and good food this year! I hope you all had a good Yalda night, too.

bajenaghe naghi

nazy jan

by bajenaghe naghi on

that was a lovely story. thank you for sharing it with us. anything that bring the family together is a good thing. happy shabe yalda to you too.

ebi amirhosseini

Nazy Jaan

by ebi amirhosseini on

يه خورده هم به ما كه تو ايران نيستيم رحم كن! درسته كه اجيل و هندوانه و انار اينجا هم هست و من هم براي امشب خريدم ولي نه هندونه هاي اينجا مثل ايران  و نه انارش , دلم براي ايران يه ذره شده كاش امشب ايران بودم !. سپاس نازی جان

Ebi aka Haaji


My favorite as well

by Monda on

I also celebrate Yalda with a review of memories from my childhood at Grandma's, listening to her stories, as she reminded me to use golpar on my anaar that she had dooned, with kharbozeh va ajeel on top of their Korsi.

Today I'm sick with flu so I have to skip anaar and kharbozeh :o(  cough inducing properties - but I'm asking my daughter to pick up from the Iranian deli some limoo shirin, ajeel and watermelon for me.



Beautiful memories

by IRANdokht on

Thanks for sharing your beautiful personal memories of shab-e Yalda . I was out partying last night, but tonight, I'll be eating my pomegranate and reading Hafez...




What a beautiful picture,and

by Tahirih on

memory. Happy Yalda Nazy khanom.



What a sweet memory !

by Souri on

Why you never invited me there :D))

In my family, we were used to gather all at the "bozorge famil" house, mean my uncle when we were in Gogran and then in Tehran, it was my aunt's house. Children had a very great time, unforgotten memories. Imagine we were 35 cousins (my mother side) at one house !!!  Yadesh be kheir.

Darius Kadivar

Happy Yalda Nazy Jan

by Darius Kadivar on

Yum Yum that looks delicious.