Haft Seen

1st vesion


With the year coming to an end and another new year approaching (starting March 21or 20), Iranians are getting their tables ready with the seven articles that symbolize the triumph of good over evil. The belie but the dates back to antiquity  practice is still very much alive. The seven articles referred to are vinegar, apple, garlic, nigella seeds, wild olive, sumac, juice of germinating  wheat or malt mixed with flour and
brought to a consistency (samanu) or a dish of specially raised barley, Number seven has been regarded as magical by Iranians since ancient times and has reference to the highest angel.  The number is well ingrained in the culture and civilization of Eastern countries. Ancient account cite an Iranian scientist, Abureyhan Beerooni, as having laid down the rules for the seven articles displayed on new year. One day the devil decided to confront King Jamshid by ordering the plants to stop growing and the skies to give no rain and other divine blessings.

But the doomed days came to an end and all the fields with their trees and plants survived which meant the king was victorious. The people rejoiced and called the day of victory 
"Roozeh Now" which means "new day" in Persian. In order to recall the day everyone plants barely in a pot or dish. 
The first "Nowrouz" people planted seven types of grains in seven pots and predicted the outcome of the coming year with the way the plants grew. Muslims place the Holly Qoran and Zoroastrians put the Avesta in their new year tables to implore God's blessings. A jar of water is sometimes added, along with bread, as traditional symbols of sustainers of life. It was common to put fresh milk, cheese, fruits and dates on the table. Wild olives and apples were symbols of love and pomegranate as fruits venerated by Iranians. Coins were used to symbolize prosperity and spherical sour oranges represented the earth.

2nd version

A major part of the New Year rituals is setting a special table with seven specific items present, Haft Sin (Haft chin, seven crops before Islam).   In the ancient times each of the items corresponded to one of the seven creations and the seven holly immortals protecting them. Today they are changed and  modified but some have kept their symbolism. All the seven items start with the letter S; this was not the  order in ancient times. Wheat or  barley representing new growth is still present. Fish the most easily obtainable animal and water are present. Lit candles are a symbol of fire. Mirrors are used today, origin unknown. These were expensive items in ancient times and were made from polished metal. It is unlikely that all households would have one. Zoroastrians today place the lit candle in front of the mirror. Wine was always present. Today it is replaced by vinegar since alcohol  is banned in Islam. Egg a universal symbol of fertility corresponding to the mother earth is still present. Garlic is used to warn off bad omen. This is a modern introduction. There is no evidence that it was used in that context  before. However the ancient Iranians would grow seven different herbs for the New Year and garlic might have been one of those. Samano a thick brownish paste is present today. It is a nutritious meal and could have been part of the feasts. It is also possible that it has  replaced Haoma. Haoma is a scared  herbal mix known for its healing properties. It was a major cult on its own with many rituals and ceremonies. The cult is still performed by the Zoroastrians   today, but is abandoned by the rest of the Iranians. Coins symbolizing wealth and prosperity, fruits and special meals are present as well. ;

 

3th version

 

 Haft Seen" is a traditional table decorated with at least seven or "Haft" symbolic objects, nutrients or plants beginning with the Persian letter "s" or "Seen". They often consist of hyacinth "Sonbol", red apples "Seeb", the spice sumac "Somagh", garlic "Seer",     vinegar "Serkeh", coins "Sekeh", Bohemian olives "Senjed", and a dish of germinated wheat or barley seeds "Sabzeh The hyacinth blooms in the springtime, symbolizing the rebirth of nature. Red apples provide color as well as representing the First Fruit, from the time of Adam and Eve. Sumac is said to be the spice of life and garlic is believed to chase away evil spirits. Vinegar is a symbol of fermentation, having originated as grapes and undergone many transformations. The coins     represent wealth and hopes for prosperity. The germinated seeds represent the fertility of the land in Spring. The tablecloth used on the Haft Seen table is made of hand-woven cloth, known as "Termeh". The Holy Book of the household is placed on this table. On the table are also placed a mirror for the reflection of life, candles representing the light of life, goldfish in a bowl as a sign of living form, a painted egg for each member of the family, traditional pastries and bread to symbolize a plentiful year.    The family gathers around the table holding hands at the specific time of Equinox, which varies every year. As they wait, they place a sweet in their mouth and a coin in their hand. At the moment of transition into the new year or "Sal Tahvil", family members embrace each other. A traditional meal is served made of steamed rice with chopped parsley, dill and chives served with fish, known as "Sabzi Polo Mahi".

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