In keeping with an age-old tradition, Iranian families get together on the longest night of the year to celebrate the winter solstice known locally as Yalda.
Traditionally, on such a night families would huddle together in the houses of the elders to listen to tales, old and new.
Mohammad Beheshti, the director of the Cultural Heritage Research Center, says Yalda marks the birth anniversary of Jesus. “In fact, Yalda and Christmas are the same; the reason why there are a few days apart are the differences in the Iranian and Christian calendars.”
The following images of preparations for Yalda in Iran have been released by different news agencies.