Sofreh Haft Seen ~ The 7 “S” of Norouz Spread

by My Persian Kitchen on March 19, 2010


I finally set up my Haft Seen yesterday. I was waiting for the gold fish to hit the Persian stores.  My Haft Seens have been slightly different every year but not drastically different as I always use the same little clear bowls.  I always like to make a small Haft Seen, that’s my thing.

I was looking back at pictures from the past few years and I thought I would share some pictures.

2005-customNorouz 2005.  My, were my lentil sprouts out of control!!


Norouz 2006. This one came out pretty nicely. This is also the year that I decided to give up on getting gold fish because no matter what I did, they just died.

Norouz 2007. Didn’t have one as I was right in the middle of moving.


Norouz 2008. Do you see a pattern here with lentil sprouts? Yes, I love lentil sprouts!


Norouz 2009.  For the first time my Haft Seen has real eggs. My mom and sister colored the eggs for me as they were here last year for Norouz.  My mom and sister got all creative with the garlic. Also, gold fish make an appearance. We got those from the local Persian market free with our purchases.  I also switched to wheat sprouts!


Norouz 2010. This is this year! Real eggs , wheat sprouts and gold fish once again!! Unfortunately, I forgot to buy a red apple this year.

So what is Sofreh Haft Seen all about? Every single item symbolizes something.  Haft Seen in Farsi means  seven “S.”  The spread must have seven items that in Farsi begin with the letter “s,” specifically the letter “seen.”


The main items are:

1. Somagh (sumac) : symbolizes the color of sunrise
2. Serkeh (vinegar): symbolizes age and patience
3. Senjed (dried fruit from lotus tree): symbolizes love
4. Samanoo (sweet pudding): symbolizes affluence
5. Sabzeh (sprouts): symbolizes rebirth
6. Sib (apple): symbolizes health and beauty
7. Sir (garlic): symbolizes medicine

Additional items that begin with the letter “s” that are commonly seen on the Sofreh are:

Sekkeh (coin): symbolizes wealth and prosperity
Sonbol (hyacinth): a spring spring flower

Other items included are:

Mahi (fish): symbolizes life
Tokhmeh Morgh (egg): symbolizes fertility
Sham (candle): symbolizes enlightenment
Shirini (sweets): symbolizes spreading the sweetness
A book of poetry or prayer

The Persian New Year, Norouz coincides with the Spring Equinox.  I love this aspect of our culture because when the new year begins, it really feels like a beginning as the transition from winter into spring is seen in natures and felt in the air.  Norouz is very much so of a cultural celebration in Iran and has been celebrated for centuries. It is customary for families to gather around the Haft Seen at the moment of the Spring Equinox and celebrate the transition from winter into spring together.  The elders present family members with Eidee, which is a small monetary presents for Norouz.

Have you set up your Haft Seen yet?

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

shayma March 19, 2010 at 11:26 am

eid e norouz mubarak! a beautiful haft seen set-up!

My Persian Kitchen March 19, 2010 at 11:27 am

Shayma, thank you! Same to you, love!

vivi March 19, 2010 at 11:55 am

Now ruzetah farkhondeh bad !
Best wishes for a good and healthy year

Ellen Young March 19, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Your tables are beautiful!

Bria @ West of Persia March 19, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Beautiful! Happy New Year, or should I say Eid e Nowruz Mubarak? I’m with you–the refreshing transition into Spring is a perfect moment for a new year. It just makes so much sense on so many levels. I’m lucky–my bday falls a couple of weeks after Nowruz, so this time of year always feels like a new beginning for me. Enjoy the holiday :-)

My Persian Kitchen March 19, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Bria, I am almost afraid to ask…my bday is on the 20th day of the new year…when is yours????

Amirabbas Soltani March 20, 2010 at 5:40 am

Dear Editor of this page (and other readers)!

Har ruzetan Nowruz; Nowruzetan Piruz!
Excellently done with your “Haftseen table”.
It was a pleasure to take a look at your pictures.

Best wishes!

Bedrud, from Delft, The Netherlands.
The Soltani family.

Amy March 22, 2010 at 4:18 pm

I am American and recently met a Persian girl and was lucky enough to spend the Persian New Year with her and her family. I googled until I found your site so I could understand the meaning behind each item. It was such a pleasure to see not only your pictures but also all that you wrote. I now have an even greater understanding of what is being celebrated and I think it is beautiful, thank you for taking the time to do this.

My Persian Kitchen March 22, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Amy, thank you for your comment. I am very happy that my post was helpful to you!

Bria @ West of Persia March 27, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Ooops, forgot to answer your follow up question about my bday. I know, the uncanny coincidences between us must continue, right? Ha! My bday is April 4th. Easter this year, which is pretty darn cool. So it sounds like we are both Aries, right?

Sirous March 20, 2011 at 5:49 am

It was very informative. Although all of know most of it but it is very nice to have these information.

Many Thanks


Nicky February 26, 2012 at 11:34 am

Dear Shayma,

I am Greek born in Tehran. Love Persian food and people.
I went looking for a Naan Berenji recipe and here you are!
I will try it and keep you posted.

Best always.

Banafsheh March 6, 2012 at 8:10 am

So glad I found your website – I’m half-Iranian and am getting ready to have my first haft seen of my own (like a real grown up :)) and couldn’t remember all the items (just started on my sabzi last night) – still not sure where I’ll find samanoo but I’m glad to have this list to remind me. And even happier to find all of your recipes – what a great resource!

My Persian Kitchen March 8, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Banafsheh, I am glad to be of help!!!! :)

Valerie Smith March 19, 2012 at 9:03 am

Thank you for all this information. I’m trying to figure out if this English-American gal can pull off a 7 “S” table for our Naw-Ruz party tomorrow night, as our Baha’i community celebrates Naw-Ruz.

Eid-eh Shoma Mobarak!

nargis chinoy March 21, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Thank you for showing us the beautiful Navroze table laying . next year i shall definitely do it if God wills so. how many days before do we have to prepare the growing plants????pls let me know n the diff. colored flowers have any significance .?

Nancy February 21, 2013 at 8:25 am


I would like to start the tradition of Sofreh this year. When is the timing for start growing Sabzeh? Thx

Rita March 4, 2013 at 10:33 am

The Parsi Community celebrates Navroze by going to the fire temple, praying and then eating good Parsi Food. It would be wonderful to set a haft seen table like yours.
I have posted this link on my website for setting the Haft Seen Table.
Best regards and Norouz mubarak,

bahareh amidi March 17, 2013 at 8:16 am

What a beautiful post on a beautiful occasion. Thank you for putting all the elements together. With your permission I have shared your link and blog on my face book page and have used some of your wonderful descriptions and credited this post. Nowruz Pirooz. Bahareh

A.B. March 17, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Good job with the explaination of each item. Although I’m Persian, I quite often forget what each item symbolizes! Thanks & EID NOW MOBARAK

mina February 5, 2014 at 9:42 am

you have great and perfect website.thank you for your usefull information

Roxanna March 9, 2014 at 10:44 am

hi my family is getting ready for Norouz. We are going to have almost everything on our table this year.

Farrah March 9, 2014 at 10:47 am

I AM EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!LOVE Norouz

Steph March 16, 2014 at 10:47 am

Thanks so much for this post… my husband is half Iranian (on his dad’s side) and I wanted to surprise him by putting together a haft seen for him. He’s really into learning about Persian culture and food (we’re having koresht-e-fesanjan tonight!) and I wanted to make a bit of an effort for him. :-)

faezeh November 19, 2014 at 9:35 am

I’m Iranian ..
There is also Qoran ( Moslem holy book ) and Mirror ( symbol of cleaning tiff to being like smooth and reflectional mirror )

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