Category Archives Holy Days

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

Children showing their artwork in Norte del Cauca, Colombia. (Photo: courtesy of the Baha'i International Community)

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

A Tribute to Anis Zunuzi

The Shrine of the Bab (photo credit: Baha'i World Centre)

The significance of the Bab’s station and of His martyrdom is beyond what my mind can grasp. Shoghi Effendi tells us that this event can “be rightly acclaimed as unparalleled in the annals of the lives of all the Founders of the world’s existing religious systems.”

In an attempt to study and meditate on the station of the Bab and the historical meaning of His execution, I found myself thinking of Anis Zunuzi, the youth who shared the crown of Martyrdom with the Bab on July 9th, 1850. Reflecting on Anis’ life and his deeds, as someone intoxicated with love for the Bab, may help me understand and better commemorate the Bab’s life.

Anis’ story is recounted in several places. For example, you can read about it in Shoghi Effendi’s translation of Nabil’s The Dawn-Breakers, Hasan Balyuzi’s The Bab, and William Sears’ Release the Sun – an excellent book, particularly for youth or younger readers. The retelling of Anis’ story is included in Midsummer Noon: A Narrative of the Life of the Bab, a dramatic audio recording produced by Jack Lenz (and available for purchase or download from 9StarMedia) which never fails to bring tears to my eyes. The details of his story are few, but here are some key points worth reflecting on. Continue reading

The Tablet of Visitation: A Personal Reflection

They say if you want to remember a particular moment in your life, you should listen to a piece of music. Melodies help us recall the very shape and form of an experience or moment in time. The same can be said about fragrance. Wear one type of perfume for a set period and you will always associate that scent with that same period in your life.

During her last month of volunteer service in the Holy Land, my sister-in-law listened to one selection of music only. Upon her return home and whenever she heard those specific melodies, she would immediately be carried away to Israel where the memories of her last few weeks in paradise replayed vividly in her heart, mind and soul.

The Writings of the Faith have a very similar effect on one’s senses. They are a melody, a fragrance, and they have the power to transport you to a different time or place – conjuring up memories, feelings and emotions of times gone by. Continue reading

19 Questions I’m Asking Myself for the Baha’i New Year

As I join Baha’is around the world in celebrating the Baha’i New Year known as Naw-Ruz, the last month of the Baha’i Calendar just before Naw-Ruz is the fasting period for Baha’is, and it was a perfect time for me to reflect on, and plan, what goals I want to set myself for the new year.

As we are encouraged by the Universal House of Justice to adopt a humble posture of learning — learning which takes place through prayer, planning, action and reflection — I thought I would create a list of questions to ask myself in order to help me reflect on and plan my own personal New Year resolutions.

I’ve decided to share this list of questions in case it may be of any use to you, (and I’ve left out my answers), but I’d love to hear about the questions you’ve been asking yourself, and/or what learnings you’ve had over the last year and how you hope to work on them if you think it would be appropriate to share (keeping in mind that it’s not about confessions of course). You can leave your comments in the ‘Comments’ section found at the bottom of this article.

Here’s the list: Continue reading

A Conversation on Ayyam-i-Ha

As a child, there was always something magical in the anticipation of the days of Ayyam-i-Ha. Whilst each of the nineteen months of the Baha’i year reflects one of the attributes of God, these “Days of Ha”, that exist “outside of time”, signify the essence of God that transcends all of His attributes, and there is truly something mysterious and mystical about these special days.  Continue reading

12 Wonderful Resources about the Life of Abdu’l-Baha

Over the last several days, Baha’is around the world have observed two Baha’i holy days related to Abdu’l-Baha, the eldest son of Baha’u’llah who led the Baha’i community after Baha’u’llah’s passing. Abdu’l-Baha is often referred to by Baha’is as ‘the Master’, but the title “Abdu’l-Baha” is Arabic for “Servant of Baha”, and He is considered the perfect example of how to live according to the Baha’i Teachings.

The first of the two recent Baha’i holy days is known as ‘The Day of the Covenant‘, observed on 4 Qawl according to the Baha’i calendar. It signifies the establishment of Baha’u’llah’s Covenant with humanity. The second holy day was two days later on 6 Qawl, and is known as ‘The Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha’, commemorating the passing of Abdu’l-Baha.

So in honor of Abdu’l-Baha, and in the interest of helping us learn more about His wonderful personage, I thought it would be useful to list a small selection of resources which may assist us in learning more about His fascinating life. Continue reading