Category Archives Holy Days

Celebrating Ridvan in Our Garden

Ridvan is the King of Festivals in the Baha’i calendar. The twelve days of the Festival of Ridvan mark the momentous occasion when Baha’u’llah told His supporters that He was the Promised One they had been awaiting. At that time, Baha’u’llah was in a beautiful garden on the Tigris River in Baghdad. The garden was named Ridvan, or Paradise in English, by Baha’u’llah’s followers. Roses in full bloom lined its paths. Nightingales sang throughout the night. Baha’u’llah said:

The Divine Springtime is come, O Most Exalted Pen, for the Festival of the All-Merciful is fast approaching. Bestir thyself, and magnify, before the entire creation, the name of God, and celebrate His praise, in such wise that all created things may be regenerated and made new.

Baha’is around the world reflect on the story of Ridvan each year. One year I realised that the Festival of Ridvan is the perfect time of year for big gardening projects. We live in Sydney, Australia so while the Northern Hemisphere is enjoying spring, we are in the midst of autumn. Each Ridvan I do things such as the mass planting of seeds, building new garden beds, pruning, etc. While I work in my garden, I reflect on the time Baha’u’llah spent in the Ridvan garden.  Continue reading

Seasons of Spirituality: Ayyam-i-Ha, the Fast and Naw-Ruz

As a person of faith, I have always believed that all of us are – as French philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin so succinctly put it – not human beings having a spiritual experience, but rather, spiritual beings having a human experience. It is this duality of existence that has given rise to some of the questions that countless individuals have grappled with over the course of civilizations.

What is my purpose in this world? How do I survive the harsh realities of life and attain comfort and security for myself and those who depend on me? How do I do all this while also abiding by lofty ideals and higher principles of justice and compassion? What does it mean to live a life that is grounded in reality and pragmatism while also honouring the nobility of the human spirit?

If you are reading this blog, it is likely that these are questions that you too struggle with from time to time. That’s why this time of the year – the days spanning the Baha’i observances of Ayyam-i-Ha, the Fast and Naw-Ruz – are some of my favourite in the year. Continue reading

Glimpses of the Bicentenary Celebrations from Around the World

Over the course of the last week, the excitement and delight emanating from Baha’i communities around the world in honour of the Bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, the Prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith, has been palpable!

This joy has been captured on bicentenary.bahai.org, the official website for the bicentenary aimed at connecting and sharing some of these wonderful celebrations and initiatives!

Here we share just a few of the stories and images found on bicentenary.bahai.org over the last few days and we highlight a few more in this post, “Glimpses of the Bicentenary from Around the World Part II”. Be sure to check out the official Bicentenary site for a richer and more vibrant experience!  Continue reading

7 Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions Based on the Writings of the Bab

In honour of the anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, we thought we’d showcase all of our Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions whose lyrics are based on His Writings. There are only seven, but they are mighty and powerful nevertheless! This short list both begins and ends with different melodies to one of my favourite prayers revealed by the Bab that begins “I adjure Thee by Thy might, O my God!” Continue reading

Celebrating the Upcoming Bicentenary of Baha’u’llah’s Birth

The Bab and Baha’u’llah were Twin Manifestations in a spiritual sense, as they both unfurled the Baha’i Dispensation, but also in a temporal sense, due to the closeness of their ages and birthdays. The anniversaries of their birthdays fall on consecutive days; this year, they occur on Saturday, October 21 (the Birth of the Bab), and Sunday, October 22 (the Birth of Baha’u’llah). The Twin Birthdays are always commemorated as Holy Days, anniversaries when Baha’is are asked to suspend work in honor of the occasion’s sanctity.

Early last year, Baha’is around the world were reminded by the Universal House of Justice, the international Baha’i administrative body, that two bicentennial anniversaries were approaching: the 200th birthday of Baha’u’llah, born in 1817 in Tehran, Iran, and the 200th birthday of the Bab, born in 1819 in Shiraz, Iran. Baha’is around the world are taking the opportunity afforded by this year’s Bicentenary to reflect on how our communities can share the teachings of the Bab and Baha’u’llah. Continue reading

A New Era Begins: Reflections on the Declaration of the Bab

The Baha’i Era began 174 years ago, in 1844 CE, when the Bab announced His mission to a young Shaykhi named Mulla Husayn. How exhilarating it must have been to live during a new revelation—to have been a devotee of Buddha, an apostle of Jesus, a disciple of Muhammad, a first believer in any of the Manifestations of God, attuned to the flood of spiritual power that each divine dispensation initiated!

This year, as Baha’is prepare to mark the anniversary of the Declaration of the Bab, we have new access to Baha’u’llah’s Writings on the exhilaration of the new era. In January, Days of Remembrance, translations of Baha’u’llah’s Writings on the Holy Days, was published. The compilation’s preface notes that the Declaration of the Bab and Ridvan were ordained by Baha’u’llah as the two Most Great Festivals.  Continue reading

7 Ways to Celebrate the Festival of Ridvan at Home

Now that my eldest is four years old, she understands a lot more about the significance of Baha’i holy days. This has made me increasingly reflect on how we commemorate these special days as a family aside from attending our community’s events. In the first volume of The Revelation of Baha’u’llah, Adib Taherzadeh describes the Ridvan Garden in Baghdad with these words:

There, Baha’u’llah appeared in the utmost joy, walking majestically in its avenues lined with flowers and trees. The fragrance of roses and the singing of nightingales created an atmosphere of beauty and enchantment.

This year we will be celebrating the King of Festivals by adding some beauty and enchantment to our daily lives in the following 7 ways:  Continue reading