Haft-Seen Spread - NowRuz Traditional Spread
A ceremonial table (Spread) called Sofreh-e Haft Seen (cloth/Spread of seven dishes), where name of each dish begins with the Persian letter Seen.
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.
The symbolic dishes consist of:
- Sabzeh or sprouts, usually wheat or lentil representing rebirth.
- Samanu is a pudding in which common wheat sprouts are
transformed and given new life as a sweet, creamy pudding and
represents the ultimate sophistication of Persian cooking.
- Seeb means apple and represents health and beauty.
- Senjed the sweet, dry fruit of the Lotus tree, represents
love. It has been said that when lotus tree is in full
bloom, its fragrance and its fruit make people fall in love
and become oblivious to all else.
- Seer which is garlic in Persian, represents medicine.
- Somaq sumac berries, represent the color of sunrise; with the
appearance of the sun Good conquers Evil.
- Serkeh or vinegar, represents age and patience.
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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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;