All posts tagged: Baha’i faith

Oakland, 1912

I love old photographs: the details of clothes and faces in them, imagining what happened just before and after the photograph, and the stories of the people in them. This is one of my favourite old photographs: Click through to the large version and look at all the details in it.  The girl in the tartan dress, regarding the camera so seriously.  The suntanned woman in the bottom right corner, crossing her arms and grinning in delight.  The man peeping out from behind the ivy at upper centre left (and the one that is even more hidden amidst the ivy, can you find him?).  The man with the truly impressive mustache holding the placard in the centre.  The adorable little boy at centre front, trying to sit still for the picture, while his even more adorable little sister slides off his fathers lap. That’s what I notice first.  That, and the focus of the picture: the turbaned man in white at the centre of the group. That man is ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and he is the reason …

A historical costumer’s Haft-Sin

Haft-Sin is a traditional  Naw-Rúz table setting in Persia (Iran), more linked to the Persian roots of  Naw-Rúz, than to the way Baha’is celebrate it, but still a lovely, picturesque idea.  A Haft-Sin is an arrangement of 7 items that begin with S, each symbolising a wish for the new year.  Here is my Haft-Sin for you: Sabzeh –  wheat, barley or  lentil sprouts growing in a dish symbolize  rebirth Samanu – a sweet pudding made from  wheat germ symbolizes affluence Senjed – the dried fruit of the  oleaster tree, look like cherries and symbolizes love SÄ«r –  garlic, symbolizes medicine and good health. Poor Dulcinea (below) was criticised for being so robust and healthy that she more resembled a ‘garlic eating peasant’ than the lady of Don Quixote’s fantasies. SÄ«b –  apples for beauty and health Somaq –  sumac berries – symbolizing sunrise (through their colour) and new beginnings Serkeh – vinegar symbolizes age and patience.

Happy Naw-Rúz!

Today is Naw-Rúz, the Baha’i New Year.  It marks the start of BE (Baha’i Era) 168 – 168 years since the Bab, the forerunner of the Baha’i prophet, Baha’u’llah, announced that he was a messenger of God. Naw-Rúz is a time of reflection, renewal, and of new beginnings.  It is a time for material and spiritual spring cleaning: a time to cleanse the debris out of your home, and your life.  It’s also a time to forgive people, to reconnect with family and friends who you haven’t seen in a long time. It coincides with the beginning of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and with the equinox, when the suns light is spread equally over the world.  This is particularly relevant to the Baha’i Faith, as equality is such a central principle of the faith. My years really do start and end with  Naw-Rúz.  The year before last, BE 166, was a terribly, terribly year for me.  Five people I loved and was very close to died in 166, four of them unexpectedly and tragically …