SOFREHS CREATED AFTER THE PUBLICATION OF THE BOOK
Yalda and Christmas, January 2023
In 2022, around the winter solstice (Shab-e Yalda) on 21 December and Christmas, an original compact sofreh, inspired by the traditions of both celebrations, was created and presented on the social media pages of SOFREH. The arrangement showcases some customary elements from the sofrehs for Shab-e Yalda (e.g. samovar, red fruits) and Christmas decorations (e.g. Christmas foliage and lights). To read more about Shab-e Yalda please scroll down to Shab-e Yalda, Winter Solstice, December 2021.
Echoes of Sofreh-ye aqd, November 2022
This delightful serene arrangement, which was inspired by the impressive bouquet of hydrangeas, snowberries and foliage placed at the heart of the display, alludes to a Persian marriage sofreh (sofreh-ye aqd). It includes some of the symbolic elements of the marriage sofreh.
October, 2022. Jashn-e Mehregan is an Iranian festival which is apparently dedicated to the god of Mithra (Mehr). See more on http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/mehragan. Very briefly, in the Persian culture, Mehregan is believed to have the same significance as Nowruz, with Nowruz signalling the beginning of spring and Mehregan marking the arrival of autumn. The celebrations, which have their origins in the pre-Islamic period and are associated with agriculture and harvest, are usually held between 16 and 21 Mehr in the Persian calendar, which correspond to 8 and 13 October. Although in the past sofreh was part of the Mehregan customs, in modern times, it is not.
This year, to pay homage to Jashn-e Mehregan, two sofreh arrangements, which include a variety of apples, were created in autumnal shades. Both bring out the best of the beauty, tone and form of the apples which herald the harvest season. The details of each sofreh appear below the relevant overall image.
This dainty arrangement was inspired by sprigs of fresh ornamental pomegranate, which are displayed on a Venetian-style mirror and in a miniature cup and saucer. It alludes to a Persian marriage sofreh (sofreh-ye aqd) and comprises pomegranate-shaped candles, mirrors, miniature vessels of rosewater (golab) to perfume the air, gilded coins (sekkeh, a symbol of wealth and prosperity), sugared almonds and crystal sugar (noql o nabat, which are symbols of sweetness and harmony).
Shab-e Yalda, Winter Solstice
December, 2021. Shab-e Yalda, the winter solstice, is the longest night of the year. It is the eve of 1 Dey in the Persian calendar, corresponding to 21 December. The feast of Yalda originates in the pre-Islamic period and is associated with agriculture. The divan-e Hafez (works of 14th-century Persian poet, Hafez) to recite poetry, and red fruits—watermelons and pomegranates—are important parts of this celebration, heralding the crimson hues of sunrise after absolute darkness, and the promise of longer days ahead. It is the celebration of the passing of darkness and the rebirth of the sun. Interestingly, Shab-e Yalda is only about one minute longer than the preceding night. In the Persian tradition people get together, tea, sweets, nuts and fruits are served, and stories and poetry are recited, to get through the darkest and longest night of the year, when it is believed that demons are most active.
Sofreh & Hydrangeas
Hydrangeas are not part of Persian traditions, but have lent beauty to many of our contemporary sofrehs. They come in an unlimited variety of sensational shades. To break from tradition and pay tribute to this spectacular flower, images of a variety of hydrangeas, classified by colour schemes, were presented across November 2021. They were intended to bring light and life into the dark days of the month.
October, 2021. Jashn-e Mehregan is an Iranian festival which is apparently dedicated to the god of Mithra (Mehr). See more on iranicaonline.org/articles/mehragan. Very briefly, in the Persian culture, Mehregan is believed to have the same significance as Nowruz, with Nowruz signalling the beginning of spring and Mehregan marking the arrival of autumn. The celebrations, which have their origins in the pre-Islamic period and are associated with agriculture and harvest, are usually held between 16 and 21 Mehr in the Persian calendar, which correspond to 8 and 13 October. Although in the past sofreh was part of the Mehregan customs, in modern times, it is not. This year, to mark the occasion and in pursuit of novelty, echoes of the customs of Mehregan are presented with an original and minimalist approach.
Sofa & Sofreh
The pandemic has put restrictions on marriage ceremonies, and has even condensed the Persian marriage sofreh! Many people have opted for celebrating at home, where space may be limited. Hence, this original composition was created on a small firm sofa, which is voluminously draped in ivory silk.
Clematis & Ranunculi
This enchanting arrangement, which is inspired by a bouquet of clematis and ranunculi, alludes to a Persian marriage sofreh (sofreh-ye aqd). Lengths of exquisite antique Persian textile (termeh) in yellow tones, with intricate embroidery and borders, offer the perfect background and backdrop for this delightful sofreh.
Blue White Gold
This striking, yet serene and soft Persian marriage sofreh (sofreh-ye aqd), arranged in front of a fireplace with blue and white ceramic tiles, complements that colour scheme. The predominant element is a length of exquisite antique Persian brocade in blue, with antique-gold accents.
Echoes of Sofreh-ye aqd
Once again the wedding season is upon us. Throughout the month of May 2021 a variety of compact compositions were designed, echoing the Persian marriage sofreh (sofreh-ye aqd). In each case the sublime flowers, which take centre stage, have been the inspiration for creating the arrangements.
The humble garlic (sir, in Persian) is one of the symbolic elements included in the sofreh-ye Nowruz (haft sinn), which starts with the letter “s”. It is prized for its medicinal qualities, and is believed to have evil-averting powers. In the following compact arrangements, alluding to the sofreh-ye haft sinn, its aesthetic qualities have been wonderfully exploited.
Simple Ideas for Sofreh, 2021
The following two compact compositions, with two very different colour schemes, spirits and appearances, allude to a Persian marriage sofreh (sofreh-ye aqd) or Nowruz sofreh (sofreh-ye haft sinn).
Art Deco Box
This theatrical miniature sofreh is inspired by a silver art deco box which acts as a candleholder and supports the mirror mosaic. The bouquet of delicate roses, known as Chiffon, and fine asparagus ferns takes centre stage. A length of ivory and gold silk with a paisley (boteh) design is elegantly draped over the surface. Fragments of lace and antique-gold trim, tassels, leaves of ivy and sprigs of asparagus fern enhance the beauty of the composition. A few of the symbolic elements of the Persian marriage sofreh (sofreh-ye aqd), including sheaves of wheat, decorated eggs, sugared almonds, crystal sugar, gilded coins, rosewater and flames are imaginatively presented.