Category Archives Holy Days

Naw-Ruz: The Baha’i New Year

cloudy sunset over field with sunflowers
The Baha’i New Year, or Naw-Ruz, which means “new day” in Persian, is celebrated by Baha’is around the world each year on March 21, and it is the only Baha’i Holy Day with no direct relation to the life of a Messenger of God.

Naw-Ruz marks the end of the 19 day month of fasting, and it’s a joyous time of celebration. It’s also one of the Baha’i Holy Days on which work is to be suspended.

Naw-Ruz is also celebrated by Zoroastrians and often in parts of countries where branches of Shiite Islam can be found – though there’s a difference between the Baha’i Holy Day of Naw-Ruz and the the Persian holiday of Naw-Ruz, the theme of celebrating a new day remains the same. The Jewish festival of Purim is also said to have been adopted from the Persian New Year, and Naw-Ruz is celebrated a lot like the Christian Easter, with many symbols indicating spring and renewal.

The Bab called the first day of His new 19 day calendar “the Day of God”. The remaining eighteen days of the first month were associated with the eighteen Letters of the Living (the first 18 individuals who recognized the station of the Bab), hence the Bab’s apostles imagined a celebration that would last nineteen days. Baha’u'llah adopted the new calendar proposed by the Bab, and the use of Naw-Ruz as a festival for those who observed the fast. Continue reading

‘Happy Ayyam-i-Ha’ Album by William Sears and the Ayyam-i-Ha Kids Available Again

Ayyam-i-Ha Album Cover 350x350A lot of my friends are always telling me that we really need more resources to support our Baha’i holy days and celebrations.

So, to help with your Ayyam-i-Ha celebrations, I am absolutely delighted to let everyone know about the digitally restored and remastered re-release of the Happy Ayyam-i-Ha album by William Sears and the Ayyam-i-Ha Kids!

For those of you who have never heard of it – the Happy Ayyam-i-Ha album is simply a classic. It blends the wonderful storytelling of Hand of the Cause of God Mr. William Sears with sing-a-long songs performed by children.

Released in 1979, the album received the 1979 Christian Angel Award for the ‘Best Children’s Album of the Year’, and it was the first time in the association’s history that the Angel Award had been given to a non-Christian group. Continue reading

Awesome Ayyam-i-Ha Ideas on Pinterest

Awesome Ayyam-i-Ha IdeasAyyam-i-Ha is coming up, and it’s important to make our holy days special. Luckily, there’s a lot of fun ideas out there online which can help us celebrate the intercalary days, and one of the places worth checking out online if you’re short of ideas or need some inspiration is Pinterest.

Pinterest is an online group board and it’s a great place for people to share their ideas, recipes, images, gifts and decorations for pretty much anything! Users not only submit (or rather ‘pin’) photos of what interests them onto their pinboards, but they can browse other pinboards and ‘re-pin’ the photos to their own page.

A few Baha’is have uploaded their own Ayyam-i-Ha ideas to their pin-boards which are really worth checking out, so here are some examples: Continue reading

Abdu’l-Baha: Unique

Baha'i Abdu’l-Baha Unique

Abdu’l-Baha (23 May 1844 – 28 November 1921). On November 28, members of the Baha’i Faith throughout the world commemorate the passing of Abdu’l-Baha, the eldest son and successor of Baha’u'llah, the Prophet founder of the Baha’i Faith. Abdu’l-Baha passed away in His home in Haifa, Israel at the age of 77 and there are no prescribed ceremonies but gatherings usually involve prayers and devotional readings. (Photo: Baha’i Media Bank)

One of the most common mistakes in English usage is the term “very unique,” and its close cousins, “most unique” and “so unique” — as in, “that is a very unique painting” or “that is one of the most unique songs I have ever heard.” We all commit this error from time to time because we mistake the word “unique” for the word “unusual.” In fact, “unique” means there is nothing else like it in existence. Like pregnancy, something either is unique or it is not; there are no degrees of uniqueness, as there are with unusualness.

Tonight, on the anniversary of His passage from this world to the next, we turn our thoughts and hearts toward Abdu’l-Baha, one who actually was in fact unique. Baha’u’llah wrote:

When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces towards Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root.

And again:

…refer ye whatsoever ye understand not in the Book to Him Who hath branched from this mighty Stock.

Abdu’l-Baha Himself wrote,

In accordance with the explicit text of the Kitab-i-Aqdas Baha’u’llah hath made the Center of the Covenant the Interpreter of His Word—a Covenant so firm and mighty that from the beginning of time until the present day no religious Dispensation hath produced its like.

Though there is no greater love on earth than that of a father for his son, the rapturous feeling that Baha’u’llah held for His eldest son far surpasses even that, as we read in this extraordinary passage from a letter from Baha’u’llah while Abdu’l-Baha was away from Akka on a visit to Beirut: Continue reading

Thank You Abdu’l-Baha

Baha'i Abdu’l-Baha

Photo taken of Abdu’l-Baha in 1912, New Hampshire, United States (Courtesy: Baha’i Media Bank)

There are thousands of reasons we can all be thankful for as Baha’is, and as there are two significant days on the Baha’i calendar this week — the Day of the Covenant followed a couple of days later by the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha — something I’ve been personally reflecting on recently is the gratitude we owe Abdu’l-Baha for so many of the things which we perhaps take for granted relating to the Faith.

I’m sure we each have our own special relationship with Abdu’l-Baha, and as we continue to work towards understanding the special station of Abdu’l-Baha and the significant role He played in the course of Baha’i history and the covenant, I’m sure we could come up with a list of hundreds of reasons we all need to thank Him.

On that note, in honour of celebrating the Day of the Covenant, I thought it would be interesting to see how many things we could thank Abdu’l-Baha for, by asking you all to leave something in the ‘Comments’ section below. It can be anything which comes to mind such as a book you’re reading like Paris Talks, a prayer by Abdu’l-Baha which you particularly like, or something you’ve been reflecting on lately. Continue reading

The Birth of Baha’u'llah and the Spirit of the Age

Shut your eyes to estrangement, then fix your gaze upon unity… This span of earth is but one homeland and one habitation. -Baha’u'llah (1817-1892)

What possible connection could a Persian prisoner in a culturally stunted corner of the 19th century mideast have with the progressive spirit of our age? The spirit of a beaten mankind arising, phoenix-like, from the ashes of pride and prejudice to the glory of unity and brotherhood. Well, everything.

Biased though I may be, as a Baha’i I also embrace wholeheartedly the inspiration of every visionary that has called for a wider appreciation of humanity. Thoreau, Tolstoy, Gandhi and Dr. King come readily to mind. Today Baha’is everywhere gather to commemorate the 196th anniversary of the birth of Baha’u'llah. It would be only befitting to pause and glance at the quiet revolution of human consciousness brought about by this serene child prodigy born on 12 November, 1817 to one Khadijih Khanum and Mirza Buzurg. Continue reading

The Bab’s Revelation

Photo: tiffa130 via flickr

One of my favorite questions to ask friends over dinner is: what convinced you of the truth of this Cause? Was it the social application of the teachings? Or the beauty of the Writings? The tribulations suffered by the Manifestations? Or a dream?

Every soul has a different response to this question and historical accounts of early believers are filled with their answers. One of the proofs of the Bab’s station that fascinates me is the sheer speed with which He revealed the Word of God. Consider the following account of the spiritually thunderstruck Mulla Husayn when the Bab declared His mission: Continue reading

The Shrine of the Bab and its Significance


On July 9th, 1850, the Bab, the forerunner to Baha’u’llah, the Prophet founder of the Baha’i Faith was executed in Tabriz, Persia by a firing squad of 750 men. The Bab, which means ‘the Gate’ in Arabic, was a Messenger of God, whose role can be likened to that of John the Baptist (who told of the coming of Christ) in heralding the coming of the latest Manifestation of God: Baha’u’llah.

Baha’is around the world commemorate the Martyrdom of the Bab as a holy day where work should be suspended, and for those Baha’is who are able to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land in their lifetime, they have a special opportunity to pay their respects and say prayers at the Shrine of the Bab where His remains are buried. Continue reading

Reflections on the Ascension of Baha’u’llah

On May 29, 1892, shortly before dawn began to break, Baha’u’llah passed on from this mortal life and His spirit was finally “released from the toils of a life crowded with tribulations.”[i] He was surrounded only by family members and a small but loyal band of followers. His body was laid to rest, reverently and without any extravagant ceremony, in one of the buildings of the property in Bahji, outside of Akka, Israel, where He had spent the last twelve years of His life. He died a prisoner, a captive of one of the many governments that had persecuted Him for the past forty years and exiled Him from Tehran to Baghdad to Constanstinople to Adrianople to Akka and finally to Bahji. In fact, of the countless themes which run through Baha’u’llah’s Writings, his imprisonment and suffering is one of the most recurring:  Continue reading

The Declaration of the Bab and His Station


In the Persian city of Shiraz on May 22, 1844, The Bab declared His mission to a young man named Mulla Husayn, who had been searching tirelessly with his companions for the coming of the Promised One. The Bab explained that He was the predecessor of another Messenger of God (Baha’u'llah) who would come soon after Him, and that His role was to prepare others for the coming of this new Messenger whose divine revelation would unite the world of humanity. Mulla Husayn became the first disciple of the Bab, and the events of this day mark the beginnings of the Baha’i Faith.

Baha’u'llah ordained that The Declaration of the Bab is one of two “Most Great Festivals” (the other being Ridvan) and it is celebrated by Baha’is around the world as a Holy Day from the evening of May 22nd to the evening of May 23rd.

In The World Order of Baha’u'llah Shoghi Effendi emphatically explains the station of the Bab and the significance of His Declaration, and so I thought it befitting to leave you with a selection of excerpts from this book. Continue reading