‘Haft-Seen’ is the term used to mean the seven symbolic items that are used in the setting of a traditional Norooz table on the first day of the Iranian calendar, which happened to be a couple of days back. Literally, it means ‘seven ‘s’ es – seven articles whose names begin with ‘s’.

Before I begin, lets get one thing very clear, people. Its ‘norooz’, not ‘navroz’. Navroz is what the Parsis call it. The Iranians say ‘Norooz’. In fact, to Iranians, no rooz is good rooz. Hyak!

There are traditionally lots of goodies on the Haft Seen table, as you will note from the pic I posted here. The stuff that goes on display are…..

* Sabzeh – Lentil sprouts growing in a dish – symbolizing green environment, happiness and rebirth. That’s the dish at your six o’clock, foreground. Don’t look at your watch, silly. 6 o’clock stands for front foreground, in a photo. The Persian woman in my house takes a palmful of green masur dal (lentils) and leaves them on a wide dish, covered by a damp cloth, around two weeks before norooz. Sure enough, by the time norooz arrives the dal have sprouted little shoots.

* Samanu – a sweet pudding made from germinated wheat – symbolizing affluence. The Persian woman I am married to, forgot and had to fill a liquer glass with nutella instead. Imam Hussein would be turning in his mausoleum if he came ta know. That’s at your nine o’clock position to the left.

* Senjed – the dried fruit of the oleaster tree – symbolizing firmness and tolerance. Those are the dates in the chalice in the middle.

* Sīr – garlic – symbolizing health. Extreme left, almost off the screen, looking lonesome and discriminated against, in a smaller cup.

* Sīb – apples – symbolizing beauty and love. The last three apples we had (Jeeze, have ta do the groceries). Ten o’clock.

* Somaq – sumac berries –symbolizing patience. No berries there. The persian woman forgot, I guess.

* Serkeh – vinegar – symbolizing development and evolution. 11 o’clock, next to the purple daisies.

* Sekkeh – Coins – representing wealth. Three quarters, on a bed of rice, just below the said daisies.

You must have noted there are eight ‘s’es, not seven, but I musta got carried away. Maybe Iranians just don’t know how ta count.

Then there’s other stuff too……

* Lit candles – enlightenment and sunrise. To your 1 and 3’oclock. They weren’t lit when I took the pics, early in the morning.
* A mirror – symbolizing cleanliness and honesty. See that ornate frame, at your seven ‘oclock?
* Decorated eggs, one for each member of the family – fertility. Yay, baby. South of the quarters.
* A bowl of water with goldfish. It…umm..died.
* Rosewater – purity and cleanness. Extreme left, almost off the screen.
* Last but not the least, there’s the Quran – a beautiful hard bound book that you have to start reading from the last page (the way I always read Agatha Christie).

For food, there was sabzi pulao mahi – veg pulao with fish. Yummy stuff, a bit oily but yummy all the same.


Sabz Pulao Mahi