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  Home arrow Articles arrow Culture arrow The Haft Seen
The Haft Seen PDF Print E-mail
Written by Akbar Nemati   

With the passing of a year and the coming of another, Iranians get their tables ready with the seven articles that symbolize the triumph of good over evil. The belief dates back to antiquity but the practice is still very much alive. The seven articles usually used are vinegar ( Serkeh ), apple ( Seeb ), garlic ( Seer ), wild olive ( Senjed ), sumac ( Somaq ), juice of germinating wheat or malt mixed with flour and brought to a consistency ( Samanu ) and a dish of specially raised wheat or other seed spour ( Sabzeh ). Note that all articles begin with the Persian " S " sound.

The Haft Seen

Number seven has been regarded as magical by Iranians since ancient times and is symbolic of heaven's highest angels.

Along with the seven articles, Muslims place the Holy Qur'an and Zoroastrians put the Avesta in their New Year table to implore God's blessings.

A jar of water is sometimes added to symbolize purity and freshness, along with bread, a traditional symbol of a sustainer of life. It is usual to see fresh milk, cheese, fruits, dates and coins on the New Year table. Wild olives and apples are symbols of love and pomegranates are fruits venerated by Iranians. Coins are used to symbolize prosperity and spherical sour oranges represent the earth

The traditional Noruz table called "Sofreh haft-seen" consisted of seven (7) kinds of food each starts with letter The Haft Seen "sin" in Persian (Farsi) similar to the letter "s" in English -- symbolizing life, health, wealth, abundance, love, patience, and purity.

•  Sabzeh, wheat or lentil sprouts represents rebirth.

•  Samanu, a creamy pudding made from wheat germ is regarded as holy.

•  Seeb, apple symbolizes health and beauty.

•  Senjid, the dried fruit of lotus tree for love.

•  Sir, garlic which is considered medicinal represents health.

•  Somagh, sumac berries represents the color of sun and the victory of good over evil.

•  Serkeh, vinegar represents old age and patience

•  There are other things you can place on the table which may not begin with letter 's' but have significance. For instance, a book symbolizing wisdom (Koran or other holy books or some people may put poetry books from Iranian poets).

To reconfirm all hopes and wishes expressed by the traditional foods, other elements and symbols are also on the sofreh:

•  a few coins placed on the sofreh represent prosperity and wealth;

•  a basket of painted eggs represents fertility.

•  a Seville orange floating in a bowl of water represents the earth floating in space.

•  a goldfish in a bowl represents life and the end of astral year-picas.

•  a flask of rose water known for its magical cleansing power, is also included on the tablecloth.

•  Nearby is a brazier for burning wild rue ,a sacred herb whose smoldering fumes ward off evil spirits.

•  A pot of flowering hyacinth or narcissus is also set on the sofreh.

•  A mirror which represents the images and reflections of Creation as we celebrate anew the ancient Persian traditions and beliefs that creation took place on the first day of spring.

•  The table may also include an orange floating in a bowl of water to symbolize planet earth floating in space

On either side of the mirror are two candlesticks holding a flickering candle for each child in the family. The candles represent enlightenment and happiness

and don't forget Shahnameh

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