For the second year in a row, I prepared for Persian New Year (Nowruz) by making  our version of a haft seen table.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to do one this year but after visiting family the other day and seeing their table, Issy was really excited to “decorate” as well.  After seeing her excitement, I decided we must celebrate this beautiful Persian tradition.

The two of us  braved the crowds at the Persian market this Sunday where she learned the Farsi word ,  bebakhshid, which means “excuse me“, a necessary phrase during last minute  Nowruz shopping. She said it over and over with such pleasure that I didn’t once get annoyed that we were in shopping cart gridlock.  Shame on me for only knowing 4 words in Farsi after 10 years with my husband;  but between my apparent stellar pronunciation of bebakhshid and my little one who is literally a mini version of her Dad, everyone spoke Farsi to me! (Oh my goodness am I passing as Persian ??? How exciting!)  It was Issy , I’m sure, because usually after I say Salam, my whiteness is a dead giveaway!

So what is the Haft Seen table that we made all about? It literally means seven S’s and everything on the table symbolizes something. As Issy helped me find bowls and plates, we went over the meanings. The table has to have 7 items that begin with the letter “S”.

The main items are :

  1. Somagh (sumac) – This symbolizes the color of sunrise
  2. Serkeh (vinegar) – This symbolizes age and patience
  3. Senjed (dried fruit from the lotus tree)  Senjed symbolizes love
  4. Samanoo (sweet pudding) This symbolizes affluence
  5. Sabzeh (sprouts) Sprouts are the symbol of rebirth
  6. Sib (apple) The apple is for health and beauty
  7. Sir (garlic) This symbolizes medicine

There are other things you can add to the table as well. Last year for example, we had a goldfish (mahi) , which symbolizes life, (I decided against one this year as the poor thing fought for its life as soon as we transferred it from the bag to the bowl  and barely made it to the New Year). This year we also had an egg, (tokhmeh morgh) for fertility,  a candle (sham) for enlightenment, and a mirror (aayne) for light and reflection. We also included the Quran, a hyacinth (sonbol), a Spring flower, and coins , (sekkeh)  which symbolizes wealth and prosperity. I absolutely loved working on this with Issy !

Nowruz marks the end of the old year and beginning of a New Year coinciding with the Spring equinox.  Happy New Year ! Happy Spring! Here’s to New beginnings!




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