It is that time of year again when the nights begin to gradually get longer, and nature in all shapes and forms thrive on the warm weather, the spring equinox was on Saturday 21st March, when the day and night time is equal, originating from latin equi meaning equal, nox meaning night. This time of the year is celebrated throughout the world, in many cultures it is associated with a time of tradition and new beginnings.
Various ancient civilisations circa 3000 to 2000 BCE celebrated new years at the time of the spring equinox. “No Ruz,” the new day or New Year has been celebrated in the area of modern-day Iran since the Achaemenian (Hakhamaneshi) period over 2500 years ago. The Zoroastrians of ancient Persia celebrated the creation of life by offering their god, Ahura Mazda, seven trays filled with symbolic objects representing truth, justice, good thoughts, good deeds, virtue, prosperity, generosity and immortality.
Today, the tradition is continued through the setting of the table or spread with an arrangement of several items of which seven of them start with the Persian letter Seen (in English S). The Persian translation for the number seven is “Haft”, “Haft Seen” means “Seven S’s”.
The contemporary Haft Seen spread includes seven of the following items:
Sabzeh – wheat or lentils grown in a tray or dish prior to Noe-Rooz to represent rebirth,
Samanu – a sweet pudding made from wheat germ, symbolizing affluence,
Senjed – the dried fruit of the lotus tree which represents love,
Seer – which means garlic in Persian, and represents medicine,
Seeb – which means apple in Persian, and represents beauty and health,
Somaq – sumac berries, which represent the colour of the sun rise,
Serkeh – which means vinegar in Persian, and represents age and patience,
Sonbol – the hyacinth flower with its strong fragrance heralding the coming of spring, and
Sekkeh – coins representing prosperity and wealth.
The other items include:
Shirini – Sugar cookies and pastries,
Candles – representing enlightenment and happiness,
Mirror – representing the reflections of creation on the first day of spring,
Painted eggs – representing fertility,
A bowl with goldfish – representing life and the end of the Zodiac sign of Pisces,
An orange in a bowl of water – representing the earth floating in space,
Rosewater – thought to have magical cleansing powers and
A copy of the Holy Koran and Divan-e Hafez
We hope you enjoy our orange bowl face, representing the earth floating in space, Happy New Year!