Haft-sin or Haft-seen (Persian: هفتسین) is an arrangement of seven symbolic items whose names start with the letter "س" pronounced as "seen" the 15th letter in the Persian alphabet; haft (هفت) is Persian for seven. It is traditionally displayed at Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, which is celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox, marking the beginning of spring on the Northern Hemisphere.
Items of Haft-sin
- Sabzeh (سبزه) – wheat, barley, mung bean, or lentil sprouts grown in a dish.
- Samanu (سمنو) – wheat germ sweet pudding.
- Senjed (سنجد) – Oleaster
- Serkeh (سرکه) – vinegar.
- Seeb (سیب) – apple.
- Seer (سیر) – garlic.
- Somāq (سماق) – sumac.
Coins (سکه sekke), hyacinth (سنبل sonbol), and clock (ساعت saat) are sometimes included too. Other symbolic items that are typically used to accompany Haft-sin include a mirror, candles, painted eggs, goldfish, and traditional Persian confections.
Symbolic Roots of Haft-sin
The Haft-Seen table represents nature. By tradition, Iranian families take great pains to create the most beautiful Haft-Seen table that they can, for not only does it embody values both traditional and spiritual, it is also appreciated by the visitors during Nowruz visiting exchanges as a reflection of the families' aesthetic sense and good taste.
Items that start with Persian letter "س":
- Sabzeh (سبزه): Sprouting /Grass: the symbol of rebirth and growth.
- Samanu (سمنو): Samanu: the symbol of power and strength.
- Senjed (سنجد): Elaeagnus angustifolia: the symbol of love.
- Somāq (سماق): Sumac: the symbol of sunrise.
- Serkeh (سرکه): Vinegar: the symbol of patience.
- Seeb (سیب): Apple: the symbol of beauty.
- Seer (سیر): Garlic: the symbol of health and medicine.
Other items that start with Persian letter "س" that are sometimes included:
- Sonbol (سنبل): Hyacinth: the symbol of spring's arrival.
- Sekkeh (سکه): Coin: the symbol of wealth and prosperity.
- Saat (ساعت): Clock: the symbol of time.
Items that don't start with "س" but, nonetheless, are invariably included:
- eggs (تخممرغ رنگی): Eggs: the symbol of fertility.
- mirror (آینه): Mirror: the symbol of self-reflection.
- candle (شمع): Candle: the symbol of enlightenment.
- goldfish (ماهی قرمز): Goldfish: the symbol of progress.
- book (کتاب): Book: the symbol of wisdom.
Afghan Haft Mewa
In Afghanistan, people prepare Haft Mēwa (Persian: هفتمیوه) (literally translates as Seven Fruits) in addition to or instead of Haft Seen which is common in Iran. Haft Mewa is like a fruit salad made from seven different dried fruits, served in their own syrup. The seven dried fruits are: raisins, Senjed (the dried fruit of the oleaster tree), pistachios, hazelnuts, prunes (dried apricots), walnuts and either almonds or another species of plum fruit.
Wheatgrass, one of the items of Haft-sin.
A bowl of samanu, one of the items of Haft-sin.
Goldfish, one of the items of Haft-sin.
A Haft-sin table at the White House.
A Haft-sin table at a hotel in Bijar, Kurdistan.
A Haft-sin table at Sharif University of Technology.
- Passover Seder plate, an aesthetically similar (except for its element of animal sacrifice, a practice strictly banned by Zoroastrians) display for the Jewish holiday of Passover.
- Twelve-dish Christmas Eve supper
- Campo, Juan Eduardo (2009). "Navruz". Encyclopedia of Islam. Infobase Publishing. pp. 524–525.
- "Noruz, manifestation of culture of peace, friendship among societies". Tehran Times. April 7, 2018.
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- Shahbazi, A. Shapur (March 1, 2012). "HAFT SIN". Encyclopaedia Iranica. XI. pp. 524–526.