All Illustrations by: Yasmine Molavi

Seven Seens of Haft Seen

an illustrated guide to an Iranian new year tradition

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:

Seeb
apples are a sign of health and beauty.

Serkeh
vinegar represents age, wisdom and patience.

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

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

Samanoo
a sweet pudding made from wheat sprouts symbolize prosperity.

Seer
garlic represents medicine.

Senjed
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:

Sekeh
coins are a sign of wealth and prosperity.

Sonbol
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.

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

Sham
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.

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

Mahee
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!

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.