“Yaldâ” is the time to be spent with your loved ones, uniting families in a similar way as Christmas in some other parts of the world. On this night, Iranians spend time with their parents and grandparents and stay awake till sunrise, the birth of “Mehr,” telling stories and memories and reading Shahnameh and other poems.
In ancient times, “Yaldâ” was celebrated by setting fire to fight against the darkness. In more recent times, more rituals were added to the celebration. One of these recent traditions is “fâl gereftan.” This poetic ritual can be likened to a fortune-telling exercise. The completed works of one of Iran’s most beloved poets, Hafiz, plays a key role in this ritual. By asking a question, the book is opened at a random page, and the selected poem reveals the answer to your question. Besides trying to get a glimpse of the future, this ritual is mainly an excuse for Iranians to read and enjoy beautiful Persian poetry.