Earlier this year, NIAC Chicago and the entire NIAC family welcomed the summer solstice with a day of poetry and lively discussion. Since then, thanks to your generosity and support, our community has achieved many big wins. And last night, we closed out 2020 with a bright night of Shabe Yalda celebrations.
The holiday, Shab-e Yalda, is the ancient Winter Solstice celebration of Iranian culture. It marks the birth of Mithrā, the Persian god of light and truth, the triumph of the sun as the days grow longer. Our keynote speaker, Professor Ahmad Sadri from Lake Forest College, discussed the meaning and cross-cultural roots of Yalda. Professor Sadri highlighted the cross-cultural origins of Yalda with Saturnalia, the ancient Roman winter solstice festival, and the Jewish and Christian traditions. Iranians, Kurds, Afghans, Tajiks, and other Persian-speaking populations around the world celebrate this holiday.
Our Yalda event featured traditional Persian music and poetry presented by members of the Iranian American community in Chicago and across the country. Marjan’s Persian Kitchen also did a cooking demonstration of a traditional Yalda dish from Gilan province of Iran, pomegranate fish, and zeytoon-parvardeh. You can watch the full video of our Yalda event above.
Below you’ll find a full list of music and books showcased at our Yalda event. Your support for our Iranian-American artists, writers, and businesses goes a long way.
- Professor Ahmad Sadri’s English translation of Shahnameh: The Epic of the Persian Kings.
- Dick Davis’ English translation of Hafez’s poems
- Hesam Dinanpour (Find him on Instagram @hesam_dianpour)
- Mehrbanoo Band