In the UAE, Iranians, Afghans and other expat communities such as Tajiks and Uzbeks, rang in Nowruz by gathering around Haft Seen.
Nowruz celebrants said they would gather around Haft Seen as usual to mark the start of the coming festive days, which last around two weeks in some countries and communities.
The Haft Seen arrangement consists of seven symbolic items that each begin with the letter seen.
Traditionally, the seven items of the Haft Seen table are: sekeh (coin); samanu (a sweet wheat pudding); sabzi (sprouting green shoots of vegetables or herbs); sonbol (hyacinth flower); seer (garlic); senjed (a tiny, dried fruit from an Asian deciduous tree); and serkeh (vinegar).
Sabzeh is the quintessential symbol of rebirth and is central to the celebration of the festival and to the decoration of the haft seen table--a thing of beauty and heavily fraught with symbolism.
It seemed important to maintain some spiritual connection to my homeland, and the most obvious means, when spring rolled around, was to plant sabzeh--the decorative symbol of rebirth, of nature's reawakening--and to set up a haft seen table.
Seven items beginning with the Persian letter "seen," which corresponds to the English letter "s," are spread out on the table; and since the Persian word for seven is "haft, "the table has come to be called the Haft Seen table.
The seven Haft Seen items are seteh (coin); samanu (an Iranian dish made of flour, sugar and coloring); sabzi (green vegetables); sonbol (hyacinth); seer (garlic); senjed (a dried fruit); and serkeh (vinegar).
An important part of the Iranian New Year rituals is setting out the Haft Seen
(Seven "S"s) table.
These special pages of the Iran Times will tell you all about the traditions of Now Ruz--the haft seen
table or Persian version Christmas tree; the Haji Firuz; the jumping over bonfires; and so forth.
The customs and traditions associated with Now Ruz seem perfectly normal for Iranians, but for Americans, some of the traditions--from jumping over bonfires to growing lentils for the haft seen
table--might seem a little surprising.
A Haft Seen
usually includes: Seeb (apple), Sabze (green grass), Serke (vinegar), Samanoo (a delicacy made from sprouted wheat), Senjed (a special kind of berry), Sekke (coins), and Seer (garlic).
Then I take up the items from the haft seen
table and put them away.
Preparations begin weeks ahead of Now Ruz--the Spring Equinox--with cooking, spring cleaning, buying new clothes, dying eggs, preparing the traditional haft seen
table, growing the lentil and wheat sabzeh sprouts and, in general, welcoming in spring.
Traditionally, the seven items of the Haft Seen
table are: sekeh (coin); samanu (a sweet wheat pudding); sabzeh (sprouting green shoots of vegetables or herbs); sonbol (hyacinth flower); seer (garlic); senjed (a tiny, dried fruit from an Asian deciduous tree); and serkeh (vinegar).