Forever Under Construction

Haft Sin

Posted in Iran, Nowruz by homeyra on March 20, 2007

Nowruz Postcards


Pdf هفت سين يادگاري از ايران باستان

Haft Sin is one of the components of the rituals of the New Year’s Day festival. Haft, seven and sin, the letter S, denotes seven items beginning with the letter S, traditionally displayed on a dining cloth, the Sofra-ye haft sin, that every household spreads out on the floor or on a table in a room normally reserved for entertaining guests. The sin items are traditionally as follows:

  1. sabza, wheat, sometimes lentils, grown to the height of a few inches.
  2. sepand, esfand, seeds of wild rue often placed in a small incense burner and burned just after the turn of the year
  3. sib, apples
  4. sekka, a few newly minted coins
  5. sir, garlic cloves
  6. serka, vinegar
  7. a bowl of samanu: a thick, sweet paste reddish in color, made of wheat, water, oil, flour, almonds or walnuts. Some used to be distributed among neighbors, who return the container together with one or more colored eggs or a green leaf.

Some households add even more sin items. The Sofra-ye haft sin is not particular to the Nowruz festival: identical sofra are set out for wedding ceremonies and in certain areas during the eve of the fortieth winter day, shab-e chella. Afghans, Tajiks, Armenians, who share in the heritage of Iranian culture and tradition do not display a haftsin.


Other elements of the Sofra:

A mirror, candles – traditionally according to the number of the children in the household, the holy Book, the Shah-nama or the Divan of Hafez, a jar of water containing a goldfish, (sometimes a jug of rainwater and/or a bowl of water containing a green leaf of pomegranate …), vessels containing milk, rose water, honey, sugar, 1, 3, 5 or 7 colored eggs, flowers – customarily hyacinth, sonbol, branches of musk willow bid-e meshk, a plate of fruits, variety of bread often sweetened, yogurt and fresh cheese, various sweets, and ajil, a mixture of dried roasted seeds, wheat, rice and nuts, all mixed with raisins …

The history of the custom is obscure. All indications suggest that the haft sin as we know it is not old and it seems to have come into vogue only in the last century. However, the essential objects of the Nowruz table are very ancient and meaningful, while the idea of the haft sin is recent and the result of popular fancy tastefully developed into a pleasant ritual. An excerpt and adaptation of Haftsin from the Encyclopædia Iranica.

sabze2.JPG Photos of haftsins
Street haftsins
A classic haftsin
Greetings, Aref-Adib
Greetings, the Persian Drummer
, Saleh Ara

Haftsin by Aref-Adib

Update: Feb 2008
What we are never told about “No-Rooz” and “Haft-Seen” by Fariborz Rahnamoon
Online Haft sin
Traditional Sofrehs
تزئين تخم‌مرغ هفت‌سين


15 Responses

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  1. sophia said, on March 21, 2007 at 1:33 am

    Happy Nowruz. New Year should always be celebrated at the start of the spring but can you imagine that tonight in Montreal when the spring will officially start it will be minus 15. Brrr…There is a beautiful crescent moon though for our consolation…

  2. homeyra said, on March 21, 2007 at 5:56 am

    Thank you Sophia 🙂
    Incroyable! Minus 15? But you know, the day before Nowruz it was snowing in the morning! Then we had a clean blue sky. It is still kind of cold for the season, the spring is sort of late. But usually we don’t complain about the cold.
    The Earth celebrates itself in spring, we just follow suit! 🙂

  3. Raya said, on March 21, 2007 at 9:26 am

    Homi jan salé now mobarak last night Clarissa and some other friends had dinner at my house around the haft Sin, we talked about you and miss’s you . i dreamed of you too


  4. homeyra said, on March 21, 2007 at 10:49 am

    Très chère Ray-banoo! what a better way to start the new year? talking and dreaming about me 🙂
    Jay-e man khali!
    I wish you Clarisse and all the friends a Happy Happy new year!
    راي-بانو قدم رنجه فرمودي

  5. AA said, on March 21, 2007 at 11:48 am

    Happy New Year from cold but sunny London!

  6. homeyra said, on March 21, 2007 at 11:54 am

    Happy New Year AA, great Magnolia! 🙂

  7. servant said, on March 21, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    Happy Nowruz, Homeyra from an undisclosed location! 😛

  8. peoplesgeography said, on March 22, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    And thirteen days to boot … now that’s what I call being serious about celebrating spring …. Of course, here in the Southern Hemisphere/ at the top of the world 😉 , autumn approaches. But I shall vicariously think spring through your Nowruz festival and traditions.

  9. homeyra said, on March 22, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    I think we are the country with most holidays!
    I have never read so much about Nowruz than I did these days for the blog! The pretext to think intensely about nature, imagine ancient times and feel the transformation is an interesting experience. Certainly there are parallel in other cultures.
    I guess you must rethink Nowruz in September 🙂

  10. […]                             The Picture’s name is Haft-sin Table: made up of seven symbols of life and the interaction of human beings with nature, here is a great article about Haft Sin table. […]

  11. […] related search engine terms of the blog have risen and my old posts such as Nowruz countdown and Haft Sin have remained on […]

  12. ramim said, on May 12, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    و اينك … كوچ “راميم”.

  13. shirin said, on March 19, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    سال نو مبارک
    اینجا (ایران)بهار خیلی قشنگه.

  14. homeyra said, on March 20, 2009 at 7:54 am

    Salam Shirin:)
    Eid-e shoma ham mobarak!

  15. naj said, on March 29, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Sale no mobarak 🙂

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