- Baha’is abstain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset for 19 days. While this abstention from food and drink is a test of one’s will and discipline, the Fast is not just about abstaining from food. The Fast is, primarily, a spiritual practice.
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As my neighbours will attest, I am not a gardener. I have managed to plant a variety of perennials along the front of our home but any growth or thriving that occurs is not because of me, but in spite of me. Some of these specimens came from friends, and some were purchased at a nursery (picture me with one child attempting to pluck all the blossoms off an expensive shrub, while another rides the flat-bed cart her sister is valiantly pushing into a display of tender trees while I ask an employee what flourishes best with minimal care and attention).
Our house came with a spindly rose bush that I hesitate to call a bush because it looks more like a thorny branch with roots. It intimidates me greatly. I have heard rose bushes need to be ruthlessly pruned and I don’t even know where to begin.
This is why I am in total awe when I think about the Ridvan Garden. I’m impressed by any garden but can you imagine so many rose bushes with so many flowers that when cut and formed into a pile, it was so tall you couldn’t see over it when seated and drinking tea? Can you imagine what the presence of that many blossoms would have smelt like, how redolent the breeze, how perfumed the wind would have been? And that’s just thinking about the roses of the Ridvan Garden, much less the sublimity of what occurred there and the magnitude of this Revelation’s transformation on humanity (a sliver of a glimpse, or a fraction of a glimmer, can be seen in this inspiring video that charts the history of the Baha’i Faith in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the world’s first national House of Worship was inaugurated).
Roses are something we’ve shared on Baha’i Blog in a variety of ways, from how to make roses out of paper, to a children’s story about Abdu’l-Baha, to a Studio Session based on the words of Baha’u’llah. Even the thumbnail image of a recent interview with painter Soraya Tohidi features a vase overflowing with roses. And if you’re looking for all of our Ridvan (and elections!) resources in one place, we’ve made a special collection precisely for that purpose!
The grandeur of Ridvan increases when I consider all the other holy day commemorations also occurring around this time of year: Good Friday and Easter, Passover, and Eid al-Fitr. In honour of Easter, we created this video based on the words of Abdu’l-Baha:
We’ve also put all our inter-faith and world religions articles, video, music and audio together in one place on Baha’i Blog — we hope it’s useful.
April and May, with their many Baha’i holy days, was always a time that confused my teachers by, what seemed to them, frequent absences from school. I very much enjoyed our most recent edition of Deck of Questions because I think some of the work/life balance questions that Rebecca and Mehran tackle are no different from some of the challenges we face our whole lives, including explaining holy days when work and school is suspended.
I wish you a joyous and sweet-scented Ridvan!
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