New Delhi [India], August 16 : To usher the new year, Parsi and Irani community celebrate ‘Navroz’, the Parsi New Year as per Iranian Calendar. It begins at the stroke of the vernal equinox when the sun crosses the equator.
The festival which marks the celebration of Nowruz [which means New Day in Farsi] involves a time-honoured tradition which includes the gathering of the families around a ceremonial table known as the ‘Haft-Sin’. Young and old hold hands and count down to the New Year together and cheer ‘Eide Shoma Mobarak’, or Happy New Year.
The tradition ‘Haft-Sin’ or ‘Haft Seen’ (Persian for “Seven S’s” ) refers to seven items whose names start with S in Persian, which are placed on a table along with other things as part of Iranian New Year tradition. The ‘Haft-sin’ table generally consists of the following seven items:
1. Sabzeh – wheat, barley, mung bean, or lentil sprouts are grown in a dish. It is a reminder of nature symbolises rebirth, renewal and growth after leaving behind a period of inaction in the winter.
2. Samanu – wheat germ sweet pudding.
3. Senjed – Persian olive symbolises love.
4. Serkeh – vinegar symbol of patience and longevity
5. Seeb – apple represents health and beauty.
6. Seer – garlic symbolises medicine and are believed to keep evil spirits and bad omens away.
7. Somaq – sumac which is also believed to be the spice of life. The reddish-purple powder is used as a spice in Middle Eastern cuisine to add a lemony taste to meat and salads, symbolizes the colour of sunrise and the triumph of good over evil.
Let us have a look at the items that are sometimes included in the special tradition of’Haft-Sin’ table :
‘Sonbol’, which is a flower and a symbol of spring’s arrival, Sekkeh or the coins are also often added to adorn the table and is the symbol of wealth and prosperity. ‘Saat’ or the clock is also kept on the ‘Haftseen’ table and is a symbol of time.
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The special table is also decorated with eggs, as a mark of fertility, a mirror which signifies self-reflection, the candle which signifies enlightenment. Other than the following items, the ‘Haft-Sin’ table is also adorned with goldfish, as a symbol of progress, and a book as a symbol of wisdom.