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Winter Solstice
In ancient tradition, Iranians celebrate winter solstice

The winter solstice may mark the longest night of the year, but for Iranians, it's also known as Shab-e Yalda, a celebration with ancient ties that commemorates the triumph of Mithra, the Sun God, over darkness. Feasting on fresh fruits from the summer season and reciting works by 14th century Persian poet Hafez, Iranians all around the world stay up to mark the start of winter. "It's not an official holiday in Iran, but similar to many other ancient traditions, it has become a significant cultural celebration observed by all Iranians," said Bita Milanian, executive director of Farhang Foundation, a nonprofit that celebrates Iranian art and culture in Southern...

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