What is the significance of the 7 items on the "Haft Sin" table for the Persian celebration of Nowruz?
Haft Sin (Haft Seen) is a traditional custom in thenew year holiday of Iranian known as Nowruz . Actually it is a table setting with 7 different items which its essential items letters start with (Sin-Seen "س")
This symbolic table of seven elements, carries the wisdom of the ancient Zaraoustrian religion, a philosophy which believes the savior of humanity is "Light", meaning wisdom; and Iran from the root word "Ir ", meaning friendship.
Actually every item in Haft seen is a symbol from Regeneracy, Fertility, Abundance, Wealth, etc. The common items and their symbolic definitions are as follow:
"Sib" (Apple): it is a very common item in almost every Iranian household Haft seen. Its main symbolic definition is "Health", there is A privelant quote in Persian culture which says "If some one ate an apple in a day, he would never require a doctor! "
"Sabze" (Grass): It's also an inseparable item in Haft Seens, and its a symbol of Greenery, Nature and Exhilaration. Also there are some who claim it is a symbol of Love too.
"Senjed" (Sea-buckthorn): an inseparable item which symbolize the wisdom and Regeneracy. In traditional medications Senjed was utilized to invigorate the brain and memory, and so it is considered as wisdom symbol in Haft-Seen.
"Serkeh" (Vinegar): an inseparable item, which symbolizes the Disinfection. Also some believes that it's a symbol for Surrendering and Satisfaction. In Persian literature vinegar is used to analogize the stress, tear, etc, since some deduce from that its symbolization meaning.
"Samanu": (or Samanak, Samalak in Tajik, Sumalak in Uzbec, etc.) is a sweat paste made from germinated wheat, which is especially prepared for Nowruz and it has a history in pre-Islamic persian empire. Actually it is a symbol for Power and Bravery.
"Somaq" (Sumac): Sumac is a symbol for Patience and Tolerance. Also as Sumac is a flavor it also supposes that it is
symbol for a Life Stimulation.
"Seer" (Garlic): Such as Sumac some people consider it as a stimulation symbol. Also some believe that it is Contentment symbol and not to invade others' rights. And also in Zoroastrian literature it is a symbol for Disinfection.
There are also another stuff used in Haft-Seen such as
"Sekkeh" (Coin) (symbol of Wealth), "Sonbol " (Hyacinth), "Sabzi" (Vegetable), "Sepand" (Peganum harmala), "Sormeh" (Kohl), etc.
which less used comparing to other mentioned stuff. There are also some items in Haft-Seen which do not start with "Seen", but as a symbol or a decoration, they are also used in Haft-Seens, As follows:
"Ayyeneh" (Mirror): It is a common "non-Seen" item in Haft-Seens and it is a symbol for Lighting.
Goldfish, it is the symbol for Pisces also known as Fishes, which was relevant in traditional Persian calendar. Iranians put goldfishes in Haft-Seen to indicate that the new year starts from this month. Nowadays it is also a symbol for Victory, Exhilaration, Blessing, etc.
Quran, Shahnameh or Hafez Poet Book, as Holy-books or respectful literature in Persian culture.