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It’s finally here — the first day of spring. For most of you, this means switching from boots to sandals and cleaning out the garage. For Iranians and Iranian-Americans (including Lili and me!), it’s also Persian New Year or Nowruz, which literally translates to “New Day” (or new beginning).

Many Iranians celebrate by cleaning their homes, buying new clothes, baking pastries and putting together a ritualistic table setting called Haft Sin (pronounced ‘seen’) or the Table of Seven S’s. Each household prepares their table differently, but they all represent seven items that begin with the letter “S” in the Farsi language.

Iranian New Year Table

Iranian New Year Table

Iranian New Year Table

Each item has a significant cultural or symbolic meaning. The most common items include:

  • sabzeh (sprouts like wheat or lentil) – symbolizes fertility and rebirth of nature
  • somaq (spice made from the somaq berry) – symbolizes the color of the sunrise, conquering evil
  • samanoo (a sweet, creamy pudding) – symbolizes the reward of patience

Iranian New Year Table - Apple and Garlic

  • seeb (apple) – symbolizes natural beauty
  • seer (garlic) – symbolizes health
  • serkeh (vinegar) – symbolizes age
  • senjed (sweet, dry fruit of the Lotus tree) – symbolizes love

Iranian New Year Table - Coins and Spring Flowers

Other items you may find on a Haft Sin include:

  • sekkehs (coins) - symbolizes prosperity and wealth
  • spring flowers - symbolizes the scent of heaven
  • a lighted candle for each family member
  • a mirror - symbolizes the reflection of life
  • painted eggs - symbolizes fertility
  • a poetry or religious book, such as Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, Divan of Hafiz, Quran or Avesta
  • a goldfish in a bowl - symbolizes life

Along with the Haft Sin, elderly relatives hand out brand new bills and coins to the younger family members — as the youngest in my family, you can imagine how much I love this tradition!

Wishing everybody a happy spring and a prosperous new beginning!



9 Responses

  1. Nancy Carter says:

    A new neighbor just introduced this holiday to me this week. It was a nice surprise to read more about it and its meaning of each item on the table.Great way to learn more about a culture than just their religion which is also important.

  2. Nancy Carter says:

    Oh yes HAPPY New Year!

  3. RSS says:


  4. Sheena says:

    Happy Nowruz!

  5. GSC says:

    Lovely photos.

  6. Lili@HGTV says:

    Happy Nowruz! I vividly remember an orange floating in a bowl of water which represents the whole earth floating in space (I'm pretty sure…) from my childhood.

  7. NorCal says:

    Happy Nowruz everybody!

  8. Catherine says:

    Happy new year, thanks for a great article and pictures

  9. Woh I like your posts , saved to fav! .

Farima AlaviFarima is the entertaining editor for HGTV.com. Aside from her job, she loves fashion, playing with her rambunctious Yorkie, Rosie, and is a self-proclaimed foodie. She lives in a house...


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