Haft-Seen or The Table of Seven S’s is a ritualistic table that Iranians prepare and sit around at “Saal-Tahveel”.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 following seven things whose names start with the letter “Seen” must be present on any Haft-Seen table.
- Sabzeh - سبزه - wheat, barley, mung bean or lentil sprouts growing in a dish - symbolising rebirth
- Samanu -سمنو - sweet pudding made from wheat germ - symbolising affluence
- Senjed - سنجد - dried oleaster fruit - symbolising love
- Sir - سیر - garlic - symbolising medicine
- Sib - سیب - apples - symbolising beauty and health
- Somāq - سماق - sumac fruit - symbolising (the color of) sunrise
- Serkeh - سرکه - vinegar - symbolising old-age and patience
To reconfirm all hopes and wishes expressed by the traditional foods, other elements and symbols are also on the sofreh:
A mirror which represents the images and reflections of Creation that by Persian beliefs 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. Sonbol (Hyacinth): Spring flowers with the scent of heaven. Sekkeh (coins): Represent prosperity and wealth. 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 year-picas. A flask of rose water known for its magical cleansing power, is also included on the tablecloth. And finally, incenses (mounted in sprouts) whose fumes ward off evil spirits.