Come and join us for a sumptuous evening of poetry, storytelling, nuts and pomegranates as we celebrate the ancient festival of Yalda and the Winter Solstice. A joyful evening to come together to mark the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. Everyone welcome!
Over the years, St Ethelburga’s has warmly welcomed people seeking refuge from Afghanistan and Iran, who have introduced us to the richness of their cultural traditions. Among the cherished festivals they’ve shared with us is ‘Yalda Night’ —a celebration where family and friends come together each year to mark the longest night of the year and the onset of winter, here in the northern hemisphere. This is an occasion for friendship, for sharing stories and reciting poems, including the works of the renowned Persian poet, Hafez. We’ll be celebrating this ancient Winter Solstice festival, with customary Yalda foods of nuts, dried fruits, watermelon and pomegrantes – their redness the colour of love and life.
This is an event for those who celebrate Yalda, for those reading about it here for the first time, and for those who wish to celebrate the Winter Solstice in an inter-cultural way. The event will be in English and Persian/Dari (with translation) everyone is welcome to bring stories, poems and musical instruments for an intimate night of celebration in St Ethelburga’s Bedouin Tent. This is a mixed event for men and women. (Photo: Betty Binon)
Included in the cost of the ticket are refreshments, traditional Yalda snacks and sweets during the evening. Places are limited so please book even if coming as a guest.
Hashmat Sarvari is freelancing with People of the Earth, a project of St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace. Born in Afghanistan, Hashmat worked as a TV political anchor for Noor TV in Afghanistan, and later as strategic communications officer at the Afghanistan Embassy in London. He holds an MA in Peace-Building and Reconciliation from the University of Winchester. Currently, he is pursuing his second MA in Politics and International Relations in the UK. He is a recipient of the 2016 AILA fellowship at the Centre of Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. In 2020 he worked with British and Irish Agencies for Afghanistan (BAAG) on the Afghanistan conference-Geneva to ensure that peace advocacy messages were reflected in the conference.
Jo Winsloe Slater
Jo is Project Manager of People of the Earth at St Ethelburga’s. She collaborates with individuals and organisations to bring refugee and non-refugee communities together fostering empathy and understanding . She hosts events to promote inclusion and community resilience and co-ordinates Listen to the World, a live music programme where themes of home, displacement and belonging meet through the traditions and talents of migrants and refugees.
St Ethelburga’s work sits at the intersection of climate and peace. We believe there can be no peace on Earth unless we also realise peace with Earth.
We offer events, training, leadership programmes and multimedia content which equip and inspire people to become peacemakers in their own contexts. Our project areas include community reconciliation, refugee inclusion, radical resilience, viewpoint diversity, and spiritual ecology.