as i mentioned in the previous post, for the persian new year (nowrouz) we set a symbolic table called haft seen (literally seven dishes), each beginning with seen, persian letter s. the seven dishes stand for seven angelic heralds of life- rebirth, health, happiness, prosperity, joy, patience, and beauty. the symbolic dishes consist of sabzeh, or sprouts, representing rebirth. samanu is a pudding which is made from wheat spreads that symbolizes given new life in a transformed shape. sib means apple and represents health and beauty. sensed, the sweet dry fruit of the wild olive, represents love. when the wild olive is in full bloom, its fragrance and its fruit makes people fall in love. sir which is garlic in persian, represents medicine. somaq, sumac berries, represents the color of sunrise. serkeh, or vinegar, represents age and patience.
other elements that start with s have been added to haft seen throughout history. books of poets represent wisdom. a few coins representing wealth. painted eggs representing fertility. an orange floating in water representing the earth floating in space. goldfish in a bowl of water represent anahita, one of the angles of water and fertility. hyacinth or narcissus, pomegranates, figs, and olives, representing time. the candles represent enlightenment and happiness. the mirror represents the images and reflections of creation as we celebrate anew the ancient persian traditions and beliefs that creation took place on the first day of spring, or nowrouz.
the traditional menu for nowrouz gathering on the day of equinox usually includes fish and herbed rice. it's believed that they bring good luck and prosperity in the year that lies ahead. i made our wn haft seen but i didn't need to cook for nowrouz since we were invites to my cousin and had a delicious norouz meal with my cousins.