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Yalda night (locally called Shab-e Yalda) is the Iranian festival on longest & darkest night of the year. This is when everyone including friends and family gather in one place (particularly at elderly’s houses) and it’s based on eating, drinking, poetry until well after midnight.
Traditionally people would provide fruits, nuts and watermelon as the symbols of this event, however, At this time of the year (Dec 20 or 21) pomegranates and watermelons are particularly significant of this event.
There are different stories about choosing these fruits and elements for this event, and among all of them we would say, the red color in these fruits symbolizes the crimson hues of dawn and glow of life. This is why people would just wait to have them while they read poems of Hafez at mid night.