We wish a prosperous and happy New Year and Nowruz to all our Iranian compatriots.
Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in Iranian calendar. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed.
The UN’s General Assembly in 2010 recognized the International Day of Nowruz, describing it a spring festival of Persian origin which has been celebrated for over 3,000 years.
Haft Sīn (هفت سین) or the seven ‘S’s is a major tradition of Nowruz. The haft sin table includes seven specific items starting with the letter ‘S’ or Sīn (س) in the Persian alphabet. The items symbolically correspond to seven creations and holy immortals protecting them. The Haft Sin has evolved over time, but has kept its symbolism. Traditionally, families attempt to set as beautiful a Haft Sīn table as they can, as it is not only of traditional and spiritual value, but also noticed by visitors during Nowruzi visitations and is a reflection of their good taste.
The Haft Sīn items are:
- sabzeh – wheat, barley or lentil sprouts growing in a dish – symbolizing rebirth
- samanu – a sweet pudding made from wheat germ – symbolizing affluence
- senjed – the dried fruit of the oleaster tree – symbolizing love
- sīr – garlic – symbolizing medicine
- sīb – apples – symbolizing beauty and health
- somaq – sumac berries – symbolizing (the color of) sunrise
- serkeh – vinegar – symbolizing age and patience
Other items on the table may include:
- Sonbol – Hyacinth (plant)
- Sekkeh – Coins – representative of wealth
- traditional Iranian pastries such as baghlava, toot, naan-nokhodchi
- Aajeel – dried nuts, berries and raisins
- lit candles (enlightenment and happiness)
- a mirror (symbolizing cleanness and honesty)
- decorated eggs, sometimes one for each member of the family (fertility)
- a bowl of water with goldfish (life within life, and the sign of Pisces which the sun is leaving)
- rosewater, believed to have magical cleansing powers
- the national colours, for a patriotic touch
- a holy book (e.g., the Avesta, Qur’an, Bible, Torah, or Kitáb-i-Aqdas) and/or a poetry book (almost always either the Shahnama or the Divan of Hafez)