Tehran (IP) - 'Yalda Night' or 'Night of Chelleh' in the Persian language called 'Shab-e Chelleh' is an ancient festival in Iran, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Iraq's Kurdistan,... celebrated in the winter solstice, corresponds to the night of December 21. It originated in the pre-Zoroastrian tradition of worshiping God. Ancient Persians believed that evil forces were strongest on the longest and darkest night of the year. Hence, people stayed up all night, telling stories and eating watermelon, pomegranate, and dried fruit, in anticipation of the sun rising.