All Illustrations by: Yasmine Molavi

Seven Seens of Haft Seen

an illustrated guide to an Iranian new year tradition

Yasmine Molavi
Mar 20, 2015 · 3 min read

A few weeks before Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, it’s customary to set a ceremonial table with seven dishes each starting with the letter S or Seen as it’s called in Farsi. These seven dishes symbolize different aspects of good fortune for the coming year:

apples are a sign of health and beauty.

vinegar represents age, wisdom and patience.

lentil or barley sprouts growing in a dish are a sign of rebirth.

sumac berries represent the color of dawn before sunrise, and the beginning of a newday.

a sweet pudding made from wheat sprouts symbolize prosperity.

garlic represents medicine.

dried lotus fruit symbolizes love as it is said that the sweet scent and fruit of a blossoming lotus tree can make lovers oblivious to all else.

The Unofficial Seens
There are a couple of other Seens you’ll find on the Haft-Seen which are unofficially part of the seven Ss as well as a few symbolic items which have nothing to do with the letter S. You can find these illegemiate Seens right here:

coins are a sign of wealth and prosperity.

hyacinth or bulb flowers symbolize spring. The pot my hyacinth is illustrated in isn’t necessarilly a tradition, but a favorite planter in my home.

a mirror represents the reflections of creation. Ancient Persians believed that creation took place on the first day of spring.

candles placed on either side of the mirror symbolize enlightenment.

Divan by Hafez
or another book of poetry or holy book to represent tradition and wisdom.

eggs painted in different colors by the children in the family represent fertility.

fish symbolize Anahita the ancient Persian goddess of water and fertility.

Each year Iranian families gather around their Haft Seen on spring equinox and countdown to the New Year. This year Nowruz falls on Friday, March 20th at 3:45pm (PST).

Saleh Now Mobarak, now go party like it’s 1394!

Yasmine Molavi

Written by

Illustrator & Product Designer based in Los Angeles

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