Montreal, March 21, 2022 - "The world is in travail, its agitation increasing day by day," wrote Bahá'u'lláh in one of His tablets! Despite all, Bahá'ís around the world celebrated the spring equinox, the Feast of Naw-Rúz, in their respective communities. In Montreal, friends had small celebrations by teleconference except at the Youth Center in Côte-de-Neige where there was a celebration with many young people accompanied by friends and some parents!

"Naw-Rúz" is the holiday celebrated by Bahá'ís around the world on the first day of Spring, the beginning of the Bahá'í calendar and year, on March 21!

What could be more logical and natural, indeed, than to begin the year on that day? So His Holiness the Báb, who instituted the new calendar of the Bahá'í Era, chose this date (March 21) as the day of the New Year, a choice later ratified by Bahá'u'lláh. As in Iran this day was already a festival and carried the name of "Naw-Rúz", it was kept for our Festival of the Bahá'í New Year.

But what did it represent in ancient Persia, since this festival probably dates back at least three millennia?

"Naw-Rúz" means in Persian, word for word: New Day. In Iranian mythology it is said that the Supreme God created the Universe in six days: successively the Sky, the Earth, the water, the plants, the animals and, on the sixth day, Man... The day of each of these creations was celebrated with a festival: the day of the appearance of Man was called "Naw-Rúz".

Until the year 538 BC, "Naw-Rúz" was only the Festival of the Creation (of Man). From this date, the Iranians will make coincide the day of the New Year (celebrated until then at the beginning of the autumn) with this festival celebrated on the first day of Spring.

This change of date was made under the reign of the Persian Emperor Cyrus the Great who freed the Children of Israel from the yoke of the Babylonians and was charged by God to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem. Cyrus (of Mazdean or Zoroastrian religion) has an important rank since not only is he known as the first "promulgator" of a charter of Human Rights ensuring in particular religious freedom, but especially because he is called in the BIBLE: "the shepherd, the anointed of the Lord"!

For more than 2,500 years, the peoples of this region (including - apart from those of Iran - some inhabitants of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan, Caucasus, Turkey and Iraq) have joyfully celebrated this festival of "Naw-Rúz".

Independent and different from any other calendar, it would be one of the few to start on first day of Spring. In addition, on New Year's Day, this event is celebrated for 12 days, plus a 13th day during which one must leave the house for a joyful communion with Nature.

Despite the invasion of this region by Alexander of Macedonia, the armies of Islam, the hordes of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane, and despite the vicissitudes of time, this festival has persisted and, being a common feature, has even served, in a way, to culturally unite the peoples of the Iranian Plateau...

In sum, in Iranian mythology, tradition and culture, "Naw-Rúz" is considered the Festival of the Creator, of the appearance of Man, the Festival of Nature, Fertility, Hope and Peace. It is also the Feast of the Family, of Respect for the head of the family and the elderly, of Friendship, Generosity, Joy and Children...

We can see that the name "Naw-Rúz" is worthy of a Bahá’í New Year!

Here is what the sixth Imam of the Shi'a says about this festival:

"Naw-Rúz is the Day when God made a Covenant with the souls of His servants to acknowledge Him as the One and to follow His Envoys and His proofs. It is the Day when the Sun lit up the world, the breeze rose to fertilize the plants and the earth became green. It is the Day when Noah's Ark finally touched the earth, when the Angel Gabriel brought the Revelation to His Holiness the Prophet, the Day when the latter broke the idols, (...) the Day when the Qá'im (the Promised One) of Muhammad's lineage, that is, His Holiness the Possessor of Creation, will reveal Himself!

N.B. the group photo was taken before the health restrictions!


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