Persian New Year happens every year on the spring equinox. There are several traditions included such as Chaharshanbe Suri, making a sofreh haft-sin, and Sizdah Be-dar. I thought a great way to spread awareness of this symbolic and beautiful holiday was to use a display table to make a traditional haft-sin along with some books by Persian authors. Haft is the Persian word for seven and sin, or seen, is the Persian pronunciation of S, or the letter س. We call the haft-sin the 7 s’s because there are seven symbolic items representing different prospects of good fortune for the new year.
Each family includes different items but the main 7 are:
a symbol of rebirth
Wheat Germ Pudding
a symbol of strength
a symbol of love
a symbol of sunrise
a symbol of patience
a symbol of beauty
a symbol of health
Other items included that begin with “s” include:
a symbol of Spring
a symbol of wealth
a symbol of time
a symbol of enlightenment
Items that do not begin with s but are still sometimes included in the haft-sin include:
|Tokhm-e Morg Rangi
a symbol of fertility
a symbol of self reflection
a symbol of progress
I wanted to include a variety of books on this table as well!
Seven Special Somethings by Adib Khorram
This is a wonderful children’s illustrated book about a child celebrating Nowruz with his family. It describes the different symbolic items of the haft-sin in a fun and informative way.
Bottom of the Pot by Naz Deravian
This is a great cookbook that I’ve spent so much time flipping through at home to check out the different recipes for tahdig (which literally translates to bottom of the pot), the crunchy rice prepared with different Persian dishes. It also includes stories of Deravian’s life.
Persiana: Recipes from the Middle East & Beyond by Sabrina Ghayour
This is another beautiful recipe book with beautiful photos and a large variety of foods as well as desserts.
The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satarapi
This is a graphic memoir of Satrapi growing up and coming of age during the Islamic Revolution. It is a combination of the original Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood and Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return. There is also a film of the same name that Satrapi co-wrote and directed.
Zahra’s Paradise by Amir & Khalil is a heartbreaking graphic novel following the story of a mother and son searching for their lost son and brother Mehdi during the aftermath of Iran’s 2009 elections. It is very powerful and hard to get through, but worth a read.
The Gift by Hafiz
What haft-sin table does not include the Divan of Hafiz? This is a great collection of Hafiz’s poetry that is as timeless as it is beautiful.
Pilgrim Bell by Kaveh Akbar
The latest poetry collection from one of my favorite modern poets is full of spirituality and magic. Anything by Akbar is worth pre-ordering and reading immediately when you get your hands on it.
Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas
A memoir of growing up Iranian in America as the subtitle states is a funny and unforgettable tale of the Dumas’ lives. Firoozeh Dumas has written others such as It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel that is also worth checking out
In Case of Emergency by Mahsa Mohebali; translated by Mariam Rahmani
Set in an apocalyptic modern Iran the main character Shadi is a woman addicted to opium. This will be one book that you will be hard-pressed to put down.
Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
I loved this YA book about Darius. He is one of the most relatable characters and it was easy to see his first trip to Iran through his eyes as Khorram expertly details the character’s grief and pain of being half in one culture and half in another.
Saffron Ice Cream by Rashin Kheiriyeh
This children’s illustrated book has such vivid and beautiful illustrations and the story is absolutely delightful!
I hope that you enjoy the books as well as the cultural significance of Persian New Year. You can find more information about the different traditions here: https://www.middleeasteye.net/discover/what-nowruz-explained-persian-new-year-celebrated
Eide Shoma Mobarak!