All posts tagged: holidays

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 young. …

Happy Ayyam-i-Ha, and what I’m doing

Today is the last day of Ayyam-i-ha, the four (five in leap years) day Baha’i holiday of festivities, gift giving, and charity work. Ayyam-i-ha has some similarities with shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras, as it is a period of celebration before the beginning of a period of abstinence.  Instead of Lent, Ayyam-i-ha is followed by the 19 day Baha’i fast, in which healthy adults abstain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset. Ayyam-i-ha is also comparable to Christmas, as it is celebrated with gift giving, and acts of charity.  Luckily commercialism has not yet cottoned on to Ayyam-i-ha, and tried to steal the true meaning away. I usually mark Ayyam-i-ha by cleaning my house and treating myself to fresh flowers to decorate it with.  I cook all of Tim’s favourite foods as my gift to him.  I also bake cookies and other treats, and take them to the neighbors and to friends.  Every year I pick a charity to make a monetary donation to, and a charity to donate goods and time to.  Most years I …

Holiday traditions: Winter in Hawaii

Most people don’t think of Hawaii as having seasons, but it does.  They are just more subtle than in the less equatorial regions.  In winter the air is cooler.  Rain washes in and out in a matter of minutes.  Certain trees bloom, and others don’t.  The christmas tree bushes are loaded with bright red berries, perfect for making wreaths. Every year in September or October my parents would plant roselle bushes.  Also called rosajamaica or jamaica, roselle is a relative of hibiscus, and what you are drinking when you have hibiscus tea.  You also see roselle tea in taqueries. By December the red stems of the roselle bushes would be laden with fat red rosettes, ready to be boiled and sweetened with honey to make the most delicious, bright pinky-red seasonal drink. Some years we would have so much roselle that we would string them into garlands to wrap around the tree. Storms are more frequent in December, meaning that the streams around my parents farm would swell with water, and come rushing down in …