A new year of teaching and friendship

Posted: 2018/04/25

Songs sung by a new community choir helped to bring joy to the Naw-Rúz celebration in Sidney, B.C.

A Naw-Rúz gathering in Sidney, B.C., shows how the welcoming spirit of Holy Days opens up opportunities for teaching the Faith and bringing more friends into Bahá’í community life.

“There was a beautiful spirit of love and fellowship here tonight,” said one guest when asked if the Bahá’í Naw-Rúz celebration in Sidney by the Sea, B.C., was enjoyable.

“In fact,” another guest added, “I would like to come to something like this every month, and the food was fabulous!”

Over 80 attendees filled most of the seats at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney as soon as the doors opened at 6:30 p.m. on March 20th, coming together to conclude the annual Bahá’í 19-day period of fasting and to welcome in the year 175 on the Bahá’í calendar. Old friends greeted one another with hugs and happily welcomed the many guests who were attending their first Bahá’í Holy Day celebration.

One of the guests, who took the time to peruse the many potluck dishes set up at the back of the room before meeting with Bahá’í friends who had saved her a seat, was overheard to say that “there was enough delicious food there to feed an army” and that “the Persian rice platters had such a heavenly aroma” that she couldn’t wait for the sun to go down. The same guest later remarked that her heart was touched by the opening prayer that was chanted in Persian, even though she could not understand a single word.

This same kind of spirit filled the evening from beginning to end. Just before dinner, many of the guests could be seen nodding in understanding when an explanation of the Bahá’í Fast and the new year were shared. Several of the guests made it a point, as the evening progressed, to mention that they thought it was a good idea to have the new year start on the first day of spring. And, of course, there was much talk about the period and manner of the Bahá’í Fast.

As the Bahá’ís and their friends settled in to enjoy the lovingly-prepared mountains of food, there came time for questions and answers. Many of the guests proceeded to ask question after question about the Bahá’í Faith, much to the delight of their hosts.

And then, after dinner – but before dessert – the highlight of the night was unveiled. A brand-new community choir, singing songs of love and unity, was introduced – with exuberant applause following each selection. The choir had been practicing for several weeks, and the Naw-Rúz celebration was their very first performance.

The love and friendship felt at this Naw-Rúz gathering will continue to be felt for days to come. Now the task of following up with our guests and contacts has begun. May Bahá’u’lláh guide our thoughts and actions as we seek to assist these friends to draw nearer to the Manifestation of God for this day and age.

— Glenn Darling