Like any other holiday, Norooz, or Nowruz, has specific food associated with its celebrations. But for the Persian New Year, which is March 20 in 2014, it goes beyond traditions like fruitcake for Christmas. Instead, at the very centre of this holiday is the haft-sheen spread.
In the Zoroastrian homes honouring Norooz, seven items are laid on a sofra, or spread, each beginning with "sh" or the letter "sheen." According to My Persian Kitchen, they are the following:
1. Somagh (sumac) : symbolizing the colour of sunrise
2. Serkeh (vinegar): symbolizing age and patience
3. Senjed (dried fruit from lotus tree): symbolizing love
4. Samanoo (sweet pudding): symbolizing affluence
5. Sabzeh (sprouts): symbolizing rebirth
6. Sib (apple): symbolizing health and beauty
7. Sir (garlic): symbolizing medicine
Depending on the family's tradition, there may be other items on the spread, such as sepand (seeds of wild rue) and sekka (new coins), says the Encylopedia Iranica. And then there are the things that don't start with "sheen," like "tokhmeh morgh" (eggs, for fertility) and mahi (fish, for life).
Does your family include other items on their haft-sheen? Let us know in the comments below!
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