Arlington Bahá’ís Celebrate Most Holy Festival in Barton Park

Enjoying Spring weather together in Barton Park between the two black tupelo trees the community donated to Arlington County for the Bicentennial of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh last year, several children and adults gathered on April 21 for fellowship, prayers, songs and refreshments to celebrate the holiest season of the Bahá’í calendar. 

The Festival of Ridván is a 12-day period commemorating the announcement in 1863 by Bahá’u’lláh that He is the Manifestation of God for this period of human history. To accommodate the large numbers of people who wished to visit Bahá’u’lláh when He made His public declaration, He asked that tents be pitched to welcome the throngs. Arlington children created their own “tent” to honor the occasion.

Bahá’ís End Fasting Month & Celebrate Naw-Rúz, the New Year

What a wonderful way to observe the Spring and Autumn equinoxes in the northern and southern hemispheres! Bahá’ís around the world have been observing a Bahá’í month of fasting since March 2, not partaking of food or drink between sunrise and sunset. At sunset on March 20, they will complete their fasts and celebrate the holiday of Naw-Rúz, or New Year.

In Arlington, VA, Bahá’ís will gather on Wednesday, March 21, at 3:00 PM in Rocky Run Park for food and celebration, and will walk over a bit later for a short program in close-by Barton Park, where the community donated 2 trees to Arlington County in October 2017, when they celebrated the Bicentennial of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith.

All are welcome to join us for this celebration and program!

Arlington Bahá’ís Look Forward to Month of Fasting

Bahá’ís in Arlington will join their coreligionists around the world for the Bahá’í month of fasting, March 2 through 20, 2018.  Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Bahá’í Faith, called for an annual period of fasting from sunrise to sunset for individuals between 15 and 70 years of age, including those who are healthy enough to do so, those who are not pregnant or nursing, or not traveling from their homes.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, son of Bahá’u’lláh, said, “…prayer and fasting is the cause of awakening and mindfulness and conducive to protection and preservation from tests.” He also stated, “For this material fast is an outer token of the spiritual fast; it is a symbol of self-restraint, the withholding of oneself from all appetites of the self, taking on the characteristics of the spirit, being carried away by the breathings of heaven and catching fire from the love of God.”

Shoghi Effendi, the great grandson of Bahá’u’lláh, stated, “It (the fasting period) is essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recuperation, during which the believer must strive to make the necessary readjustments in his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in his soul. Its significance and purpose are, therefore, fundamentally spiritual in character. Fasting is symbolic, and a reminder of abstinence from selfish and carnal desires.”

Following the Fast Bahá’ís celebrate the Bahá’í New Year, or Naw-Rúz, on March 21, 2018, the vernal equinox.

Ayyám-i-Há is Coming Soon! What is It? When is It?

The following excerpt from Wikipedia explains the upcoming holiday period of Ayyám-i-Há in the Bahá’í calendar:

“Ayyám-i-Há refers to a period of intercalary days in the Bahá’í calendar, when Bahá’ís celebrate the Festival of Ayyám-i-Há. The four or five days of this period are inserted between the last two months of the calendar (Mulk and `Alá’). The length of Ayyám-i-Há varies according to the timing of the following the vernal equinox so that the next year always starts on the vernal equinox.

“The 2018 dates for this observance are from sunset on Sunday, February 25 to sunset on Thursday, March 1.

“The nineteen months of the Bahá’í calendar are named after the attributes of God. Ayyám-i-Há, which means the “Days of Há” — Há is the Arabic letter corresponding to the English H— commemorates the transcendence of God over his attributes, since its name “Há” has been used as a symbol of the essence of God in the Bahá’í Holy Writings. Under the Arabic abjad system, the letter Há has the numerical value of five, which is equal to the maximum number of days in Ayyam-i-Há.

“During the Festival of Ayyám-i-Há Bahá’ís are encouraged to celebrate God and His oneness by showing love, fellowship and unity. In many instances Bahá’ís give and accept gifts to demonstrate these attributes, and it is sometimes seen as a ‘Bahá’í Christmas,’ but many Baha’is only exchange small gifts because gifts are not the main focus. It is also a time of charity and goodwill and Bahá’ís often participate in various projects of a humanitarian nature.”

Fun Bahá’í-themed gifts may be found at online stores such as Delighted Hearts, Mine Rich in Gems, and A Tiny Seed.

Happy Ayyám-i-Há!!