The 2019 European Baha’i Choral Festival was held from May 29 – June 2 at the Baha’i House of Worship in Langenhain, Germany. At this, the second European Baha’i Choral Festival to date, over a hundred participants came together to sing, share music with others and to strengthen the bonds of fellowship and harmony amongst Baha’is and their friends across Europe. Continue reading
Andrea Hope is no stranger to the Baha’i Blog team! In the past, we interviewed her about her spoken word (you can read all about it here). Now she has taken her skills with words to create a book for young children called A is for Allah-u-Abha. Illustrated by Winda Mulyasari, this bright and bold book will help little ones learn spiritual qualities, Baha’i concepts and history such as equality, the Fast, and the station of Abdu’l-Baha as our exemplar.
Andrea lovingly shared how her picture book of poetry came together, the process involved, and what she’s working on now. Here’s our conversation:
Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I publish under the name Andrea Hope, which is my first and middle name. “Hope” comes from my great-grandmother, Virginia Hope Jones, who was the first Baha’i in our family and my spiritual guide. Growing up, I was always quite empathetic toward the plight of humanity. At age 11, I found my first solace in writing poetry with lines like, “If the world were full of blind men what a beautiful sight it would be … we’d be forced to feel, not see.” I remember wondering as a junior youth, “Why would God put me on this earth if there was nothing I could do about suffering?” The Baha’i Faith both relieved and empowered me. I have been working for some time to combine my passion for the arts and children’s education with the needs of the Faith. This has included developing children’s programs for holy days, organizing a theatre performance of the children’s book Rooth Sees a Trooth, creating Baha’i Holy Day memory cards, writing a poetry activity book called I Am & I Can, and now, publishing the picture book A is for Allah-u-Abha. Continue reading
At Baha’i Blog, we’re huge fans of artistic expressions so we wanted to make sure everyone was aware of the wonderful section on the official bicentenary website dedicated to artistic expressions from around the world in honour of the 200th anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith.
From Bolivia to Iraq, and from Singapore to the Netherlands, this website showcases various artistic initiatives and activities created by individuals and communities, and the page is constantly being updated too! Continue reading
The Baha’is of the United Kingdom have created five beautiful exhibition panels designed for use during activities commemorating the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-Herald of the Baha’i Faith.
The panels offer a historical overview of the Bab’s Revelation, share quotations about His Station, describe His teachings, and offer from excerpts from His Writings. Eye-catching photographs are also included. Continue reading
Let’s brainstorm! What if we named some things we might need to do when organizing an event, such as a neighborhood holy day celebration for the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab?
Perhaps, like me, you thought about the people to invite, the programme, the food, possible music to be played (such as Bahai Blog’s Studio Sessions), the location, and then what about making invitations?!
The idea of making invitations has made me panic a little in the past, but as I’ve found, there are a lot of great online resources out there now, and so, to help us all out, I’ve created a list of seven websites to help you create your invitations. Some are free and easy-to-use, some have packaged or priced options, and two of them are for those who are more comfortable with design and programs like Photoshop.
I hope this helps and you find this list useful: Continue reading
Ravi Purushotma has created a unique artistic resource for communities producing dramas or plays about Baha’i history — particularly in the days and weeks leading up to, during and after celebrations for the bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-Herald of the Baha’i Faith. It’s unlike any other creative project I’ve heard of, so I was excited to hear from Ravi about what it is, how it works, and how others can use it. Here’s our conversation: Continue reading
I wanted to share an awesome initiative spearheaded by the Baha’i Community of New Zealand called The Race Unity Speech Awards. Having started back in 2001, the event is an annual public speaking competition for senior high school students in New Zealand, and although the topic varies from year to year, the theme is always around race. Students are given one or two quotes and several bullet points relating to the particular topic, and asked to consider them when preparing their speeches. Regional heats are held in 14 locations around the country and around 25 of the regional participants gather in Auckland each year for the national semi-finals and finals. The speech awards provide a nationwide platform for students to express their ideas on how we can improve race relations, and the theme for 2019 was “Speaking for Justice, Working for Unity”. In conjunction with the speech awards are also gatherings called Race Unity Hui. These gatherings are also organized to give young people an opportunity to be heard when it comes to race relations issues, and they provide a space for young people to advance the conversation about race relations in New Zealand.
This year’s finals of The Race Unity Speech Awards just took place last month, and Robbie White of New Plymouth Boys’ High School won the competition; he cited examples of past and present New Zealand leaders who have helped to forge unity in New Zealand, and confidently wove the Maori language into his speech (which you can watch here). Nina Gelashvilli, a Year 12 student at Kuranui College in the Wairarapa, was the national runner-up and Michael Echague, a Year 12 student from St John’s College in Hamilton, was a national finalist. I was excited to hear from these three participants about their experience with this incredible event, and here’s what they shared with me: Continue reading
After much reflection, the Baha’i Blog team has decided to close down the Baha’i Blog Shop in about 30 days, so it’s your last chance to get your limited edition Baha’i-inspired t-shirts, and help support Baha’i Blog!
Since Baha’i Blog’s inception eight years ago, we’ve been exploring how the Baha’i Faith translates into various avenues of media, whether it be through our written articles, our Studio Sessions musical series, our podcast series called the Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson, or our many other forms of Baha’i-inspired content. As a part of this exploration, a few years ago we decided to experiment with Baha’i-inspired content on worn apparel, with a focus on t-shirts. We asked ourselves questions like: “Do we print a t-shirt with a direct quotation from the Baha’i Writings on it, or should the words on the shirt be inspired by a quotation from the Baha’i Writings?”; “Do we print on the front of the shirt, or do we print on the back of the shirt?”, and also, “What sort of impact do these shirts have on those wearing them, and those around them?”. Continue reading
Lisa Blecker is a bit of a celebrity in our household. My three young children have, at various times, all held our board book copy of Blessed is the Spot during prayers and we have read, and sung, The Good in Me from A to Z by Dottie as a family and in our children’s class more times than I can count! When I saw that Lisa had put out a new book called Sweet Neighbors Come in All Colors, I knew it was going to be a hit with our family — and I wasn’t disappointed! It is cheerful, vibrant, sweet, fun and a book the kids ask for over and over and over again!
Because of how much her books have meant to us, I was a little star struck when I approached Lisa to find out more about her book and when I told my six year old that Lisa and I were in touch, she was floored! It was a pleasure to find out more about the book and I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did: Continue reading
We live in amazing times; I’ve become friends and have been able to collaborate with some fantastic people online. Alan and Lorraine Manifold are one such example. It’s been a pleasure to work together with them. For example, Naysan interviewed Alan about his mystery novel (that features a Baha’i detective!) titled Consulting Detective and they wrote an article called “It’s OK to Be a Feminist” that involved some insightful consultations about the equality of women and men and how we write about this weighty teaching on a personal Baha’i-inspired blog — there’s a lot that happens behind the scenes here at Baha’i Blog and if you’re ever curious about the principles and ideas that guide our work, check out our Editorial Values.
I recently learned about the “Baha’i Composition Blast”, a new brainchild of Alan and Lorraine in honor of the upcoming Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, and it was fascinating to hear about it. Here’s what they shared with us: Continue reading