The sixteenth month of the Baha’i calendar is the month of Sharaf. The word ‘sharaf’ is Arabic for ‘honour.’ In his A Dictionary of the English Language, Samuel Johnson defined ‘honor’ as the ‘nobility of the soul.’ When I am trying to get a better grasp on a spiritual principle I look out into the world around me for reflections of it. For some reason looking outwards for concrete examples of otherwise abstract concepts ultimately helps me to reach a deeper internal understanding, and to find ways to integrate new ways of being into my own life. Often I find instruction in the natural world. But sometimes human beings most clearly exemplify a quality I’m trying to better comprehend.
Looking through a list of the names of the 19 months in the Baha’i calendar, I notice that 16 are attributes of God: splendor, glory, beauty, grandeur, and so on. Then we come to the months of words, speech and questions. You might be interested to explore this Baha’i Blog article about words, or this one about speech, but for now I’d like to explore the 15th month: questions. There may be a reference somewhere in which questions is referred to as an attribute of God (I have yet to find one, so if you do, please let me know), but to me this month has always been a bit of a curiosity. I have a friend whose first Nineteen Day Feast was the Feast of Questions. When he arrived at the gathering chairs had been arranged in a circle around a large piece of fabric which lay on the floor in the centre of the room. The host had spray painted a giant question mark across it. My friend found himself questioning what he had gotten himself into, but in addition to being an amusing introduction to the Nineteen Day Feast, the host clearly also had questions about the month of Questions, and it made my friend stop and ask himself a question or two! The fact that an entire month has been dedicated to questions suggests to me that questioning has an important role to play in the Baha’i Faith. The deeper I delve into the purpose of questions, the more questions I have. So, in the spirit of the month, below are my top four questions about the month of Questions: Continue reading
A couple of months ago, two young Baha’is based in Melbourne, Australia named Tanisha and Tina, set out to design a planner like no other. They wanted Baha’is to have access to a planner based on the Baha’i calendar (known as the Badi calendar) on a daily basis, so this month, they’ve launched their own brand called ‘Fire & Gold‘, with the 2021 Badi Collection of planners being their very first product.
I got in touch with Tanisha and Tina to find out more about Fire and Gold, and particularly about their Badi planners: Continue reading
We’ve seen a diverse flourishing of online Baha’i-inspired initiatives in recent days and weeks as more and more people self-isolate due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As Baha’is and their friends around the world celebrate the 12 days of Ridvan in creative ways that are in keeping with the recommendations of health authorities, we’re especially excited to share two awesome initiatives which are taking place each of the 12 days of Ridvan to celebrate the whole Festival online. Continue reading
Alhan Rahimi, who you may remember from her children’s book about the Declaration of the Bab or her book about the Birth of the Bab, has just released a new work for little ones related to Baha’i history and its holy days. Her latest book, illustrated by Alina Onipchenko, is called Garden of Ridvan: The Story of the Festival of Ridvan for Young Children and it’s a fantastic resource.
Told from the perspective of one of the garden’s nightingales, this book features soft colorful images and repetition. Written with children around 5 years old or younger in mind, this book is sure to help foster an understanding of the beauty and significance of the Festival of Ridvan. Continue reading
Mine Rich in Gems is an incredible resource for teaching children and junior youth (from the ages of 2-14). Created by a family team made up of wife and husband, Lili and Wei, along with daughters, Kati and Christi, Mine Rich in Gems offers downloadable Baha’i-inspired activity booklets and materials in support of Feasts, Holy Day celebrations, children’s classes, home visits and other occasions. These resources are jam-packed with stories, games, puzzles and coloring sheets.
I got in touch with the team behind Mine Rich in Gems to find out more about how they came together and what they’re working on. Here’s what they shared with me: Continue reading
A special edition Badi calendar (or Baha’i calendar) has been created for this year, 177 BE, in celebration of the centenary of the Baha’i Faith in Australia. Featuring historic photographs, this 22-page calendar includes Baha’i Holy Days and 19-Day Feasts from Naw-Ruz 2020 to March 2021.
The photos displayed are from the Australian national Baha’i archives and they highlight the growth of the Baha’i community, including key milestone events.
There are many photographs of Hands of the Cause of God Hyde and Clara Dunn, who traveled to Australia in 1920 to establish Baha’i communities. Continue reading
If you’re looking for gift ideas or resources for Ayyam-i-Ha, here is some Baha’i-inspired content from Baha’i Blog that you might find helpful in the weeks leading up to the festival of generosity! Continue reading
Photo: courtesy of the Baha'i International Community
At the latitudes where I’ve lived the longest (between 40 and 43 degrees north of the Equator, to be exact), November through March are dark and frozen. The Baha’i (Badi) calendar has no celebratory Holy Days during most of this wintry season; the Day of the Covenant falls around US Thanksgiving, and Ayyam-i-Ha comes about a month before the Spring Equinox. In between, for most of the Gregorian months December, January, and February, there are no celebrations on our calendar, in contrast to other religions’ calendars, many of which feature holidays around winter solstice, casting light on the darkest time of year. Continue reading
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