Written by Parisa Eshrati
Haft-sin is a traditional table arrangement displayed for Nowruz, the Iranian New Year's day which takes place on the first day of spring. The seven items, whose name start with the letter "seen" or "S", are all symbolic of different fortunes for the new year. This blog explains the meaning of each haft-sin item, and pairs them with songs that match their literal and symbolic meaning.
Haft-Sin, or "Seven S's"
(scroll down to the bottom for a Spotify playlist of all the songs)
Sabzeh (سبزه) – wheat, barley, mung bean, or lentil sprouts grown in a dish. Sabzeh is a symbol of rebirth and renewal of nature.
“River” - Ibeyi
“Metamorphosis” - Ananda Shankar
“Just Like Water” - Lauryn Hill
“Sprout and the Bean” - Joanna Newsom
Samanu (سمنو) – sweet pudding made from wheat germ. Samanu represents fertility and the sweetness of life.
“Sugar Never Tasted So Good” - The White Stripes
“Candy” - Mandy Moore
“Sweetness” - Jimmy Eat World
“Suga Suga” - Baby Bash
“Artificial Sweetener” - No Doubt
Senjed (سنجد) – Persian olive. Senjed is for love and affection.
“‘Til I Kissed You” - The Everly Brothers
“True Affection” - Father John Misty
“Pink Love” - Blonde Redhead
“Love” - Mos Def
“Les Olivettes” - Charles Trenet
Serkeh (سرکه) – vinegar. Serkeh symbolizes patience and age.
“Patience” - Lee “Scratch” Perry
“The Wait” - Built to Spill
“Wait in Vain” - Bob Marley
"Time" - David Bowie
Seeb (سیب) – apple. Seeb is a symbol of health and beauty.
“Apple Tree” - Erykah Badu
“Healthy Body” - Operation Ivy
“We Share Our Mother’s Health” - The Knife
“Prosperity and Beauty” - Gorgoroth
“Video” - India.Arie
Seer (سیر) – garlic. Seer is for good health.
“The Original Wild Garlic Memory” - Coil
“Black Garlic” - Armand Hammer
“Be Healthy” - Dead Prez
“Picture of Health” - Parquet Courts
Somāq (سماق) – sumac. Somaq (crushed spice of sumac berries) symbolizes the sunrise and the spice of life.
“Spice Up Your Life” - Spice Girls
“I Like the Sunrise” - Nina Simone
“Sunrise, Sunset” - Minami Deutsch
“Softly as the Morning Sunrise” - Tony Monaco
There are additional items often associated with the haft-sin, such as a mirror to symbolize self-reflection, goldfish and a bowl of water to represent movement and life, candles to represent light, eggs for fertility, and coins for wealth and prosperity, and a holy book or poetry book from Hafez. Here are a collection of songs to match these themes:
“The Goldfish and the Frog” - Daniel Johnston
“The Screen Behind the Mirror” - Enigma
“I’ll Be Your Mirror” - The Velvet Underground
“Hall of Mirrors” - Kraftwerk
“Money” - Pink Floyd
“All This Money” - Injury Reserve
“Eggs on Plate” - Iggy Pop
“A Reflection” - The Cure
“The Mirror Reflecting (Part 1 & 2)” - The Haxan Cloak
“Body Movin’” - The Beastie Boys
“God Moving Over the Face of Waters” - Moby
“Holy Child” - Jlin
All of the songs on in this blog can be streamed below in this Spotify playlist: