Nevruz haft sin table

A guide to creating your own table for this holiday


Nowruz is the celebration for the coming of Spring. It is celebrated every year on the day of the Spring Equinox. Nowruz means “New Day” in Persian and the holiday is widely celebrated in Iran, by the Kurdish minority, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, and some regions of Turkey. Some traditions of Nowruzz are family get-togethers, traditional dances, gift exchanges, reciting poetry and planting new plants. People who celebrate will clean their house the day before to prepare for new beginnings and they will make their own table of an arrangement of 7 symbolic items with decorations around it.


This table is called a HaftSin. “Haft” means seven and “Sin” which is the name of the letter “S” in Persian. This table is filled with 7 things that start with S in Persian. First start off with a small table, which can be your coffee table or kitchen table. The first thing you will add is a table cloth of your choice. For example, a Cheffiye, which is a traditional scarf from Iran. Next, it is time to get our 7 arrangements. 


The first item is “Sabzeh,” which means plant. The most common plant to put on your table is wheat grass. Some grow their own, but this plant can be found at many supermarkets, including “Fresh Thyme” . Placing the plant on a dish to make it look a little nicer. Since plants grow in the spring, the wheat grass represents rebirth and growth since spring is when everything comes back to life again. 


The next item is “Shirini,” which translates to sweets. You can use candies, cookies, puddings or cakes. Your guests can take some of the sweets as well.  This symbolizes the sweetness of the taste that spring brings to us. 


To represent love, we will place “Senjed”, or dried fruits, on a plate. You can use dried apricots, mangos, strawberries or prunes. 


Next we will put “Seer,” which is Garlic on a dish. Garlic is frequently used in many and it has medical benefits to the ones who consume it. Garlic symbolizes health.


“Seeb” is an apple. Apples represent beauty. Apples are used to represent beauty because they come in a variety of different colors. 


Haft Sin tables include spices to the dishes on the tables as well. The most popular one is Sumac, which is used in Persian and Turkish cuisine. Sumac represents sunrises. You can find it at international grocery stores.  If you don’t have sumac, you can use paprika or your favorite spice to add to the food that you cook. 


Our last food is “Serkeh,” which is vinegar. This represents patience for what’s to come in the future. Vinegar is seen as the perfect representation of patience because it’s bitter at first but its bitterness goes away after some time.

Add all of these 7 symbolic items to dishes that you like and add them to your table. 


The next thing is to add a mirror, which is very important. Mirrors can be symbolic in self reflection and are included because spring is a clean slate to try to better yourself.Traditionally, you ask  yourself questions like “Am I doing the right thing?” This mirror should be placed at the central back of your table. 


Next, add two candles, which represent light. During spring, the days are longer and you get to spend more time in the light than the dark. These will go next to your mirror to make it more aesthetic. A flower vase is a nice addition to your table, because flowers represent spring very well. Choose your favorite framed picture of you and your family or friends. This represents the love you have for the ones you want to celebrate with. 

The last item is a book of knowledge. For many people celebrating, most are Muslims, so they may add the Holy Quran. Some are Christian or Zoroastrian, so they will add the Bible or Avesta. If you are not religious, you may add a book that means something to you. This can be a book of poems or folklore stories. This book is added to the center of the table because knowledge is located in the center of everything. 


Your Haft Sin table is a table of symbolism as you go into a season filled with new beginnings. 

In Persian, “Happy Nowruz” is “Nowruz Mobarak”!

Nowruz Mobarak to you, your friends and family, and best wishes and good health to you all.