Every year in March, Iranians and other nationalities celebrating Norooz prepare a Sofreh-e Haft Sin (clothes of 7 dishes) that they will keep until the 13th day after Norooz (Sizdeh Bedar). I usually set mine up on the same day as the “Samanoo Pazoon“ tradition, which puts me in the right mindset for the first of many New Year related celebrations.
“Sinn” in Farsi stands for the letter “S”, and the number 7 has been sacred in Iran since the ancient times. The seven dishes are not randomly chosen, and rather represent the seven angelic heralds of life-rebirth, health, happiness, prosperity, joy, patience and beauty. They consist of:
1. “Sabzeh”: Green grass, usually made with wheat or lentil sprouts, representing rebirth. On Sizdeh Bedar, people will gather outdoors and the tradition is to dispose of the Sabzeh in a stream of water, to remove negativity from the home. The idea is that during its time of growth, it has absorbed all the negative energies from the household, and by “releasing” it in water we are pushing all that away and starting a fresh and positive New Year.
2. “Samanu”: Wheat germ based pudding symbolizing patience and affluence. See my post here for the Samanoo pazoon tradition.
3. “Seeb”: means apple, and represents health and beauty.
4. “Senjed”: is the sweet, dry fruit of the Lotus tree, and represents Love. It was said that when in bloom, the fragrance and fruit of the Lotus Tree make people fall in love.
5. “Seer”: is Garlic, and represents medicine.
6. “Somac”: made with sumac berries, represents the color of sunrise, with the rising of the Sun, Good conquers Evil.
7. “Serkeh”: means vinegar, and represents age and patience.
Additional side items can also be placed on the spread, to confirm the message of the traditional items. I usually add:
· Coins for prosperity and wealth
· Painted egg(s) for fertility
· A goldfish in a bowl, which represents life and the end of the astral year-picas. You will notice on my Haft seen, I am using a box of plastic fishes. I am sure this is a big No-No per the tradition, BUT every year I would get real goldfishes only to find them dead shortly after the New Year was over. Not exactly the best way to celebrate renewal and rebirth by starting it with a dead animal. So my bestie, who has my best interest at heart, finally got me these plastic fishes, that I can now use guilt free every year!
· A flask of rose water, known for its cleansing power
· Hyacinths, a typical spring flower with a delightful fragrance
Other items can be added, but I like to keep mine small and simple.
Let the Norooz celebrations begin!