For thousands of years, Iranians have celebrated the victory of light over darkness on the 21st of December (30th of Azar). The night of which is the longest night of the Iranian solar calendar year. Yalda means birth and it refers to the birth of Mitra, the angel of light. It is the last night of autumn in the Northern hemisphere. It is the start of winter and since nights get shorter and days get longer, Iranians celebrate the renewal of the sun by gathering in their grandparents’ houses. They celebrate it by singing, dancing, reading Poems, and eating pomegranates, etc
But Yalda is also the name for an Iranian woman.
Yalda Aghafazli was only a 19-year-old girl full of life. She was supposed to celebrate the longest night of this year with the rest of us. She, alongside so many other innocent Iranians, lost their lives in an unfair battle between light and darkness. They were the light that was shadowed by the terrorist regime of the Islamic Republic in Iran. She was killed for spreading light in this world of shadows.
This year, we celebrate Yalda in remembrance of her and those innocent people who lost their lives to keep the lights of Yalda shining forever. We celebrate it in remeberance of those who are spending longest nights in prison waiting for their unjust death sentences. For those who have disappeared – murdered by the Islamic Republic because they seek basic human rights.