Sofre Haft_Seen - Traditional New Year Spread
A ceremonial table called Sofreh-e Haft Seen (Seven dishes Spread, Seven Symbols Spread), name of each dish beginning with the Persian letter Seen (S).
At the time of Sal Tahvil (Beginning of the new year) family members gather around the
HaftSeen Table (Sofreh-e Haft seen) to start the new year together.
A few days prior to the New Year, a special cover is spread on to
the Persian carpet or on a table in every Persian household. This
ceremonial table is called cloth of seven dishes, (each one beginning
with the Persian letter cinn). The number seven has been sacred in Iran
since the ancient times, and the seven dishes stand for the seven
angelic heralds of life-rebirth, health, happiness, prosperity, joy,
patience, and beauty.
Lighted candles, which represent the goodness and warmth that enters life
with the coming of spring and the dissipation of evil that has had the world in its cold grip,
are placed on the sofreh. In a large setting, an open fire would replace the candles.
The number of the candles must be the same as the number of the offspring in the household.
Often an egg accompanies each candle. It should be mentioned that the candles on displays
must be allowed to burn themselves out. It is bad luck to blow out a candle.
A copy of family's holy book (i.e, Avesta, Torah, Injil (Bible), or Qur'an -
depending on the
faith to which the family belongs) is placed in a prominent place on the sofreh.
The holy scripture refreshes the bond between the faithful and the source of good emanating
from the light.