March 21st – Baha’i New Year

You have probably heard the word “Nawruz” (Nowruz, Norooz) before. Traditionally Nawruz is celebrated in Iran and in the countries that are related to the Iranian culture (e.g. Central Asia). 

Nawruz also happens to be the first day in the Baha’i Calendar – the Baha’i New Year. So all Baha’is around the world start the celebration after breaking the last day of the Baha’i Fast on March 20th. 

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We had a lovely celebration with our friends and families. We had some amazing food, beautiful prayers and fun games!

My older daughter made lovely cards for everyone: she finger painted stars on them, we traced 9-pointed start on the inside, added greetings and put a carnation into every card. I think our friends loved the cards!

For this occasion I volunteered to prepare an activity/game. I thought a lot about what I could do that could involve both children and adults and I came up with the following simple game.

You will need:

Sheets of A3 paper (I had 3 to have friends divided into 3 groups)

Marker

Scissors

Few sheets of plain or color A4 paper (2 per group)

Double-sided tape and/or glue

Preparation:

1. Write these Hidden Words on the sheet of A3 paper in large prints: “O Son of Spirit! My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting. “

2. Cut the words out. You can either cut words 1 by 1 or have 2-3 together.

How to do this activity:

1. Divide friends into groups.

2. Explain that they will have 2 tasks:

                  a) put together the Hidden Words;

                  b) out of 2 pieces of A4 paper make a lantern, just using their hands and double-sided tape or glue.

Cutting is not allowed. Tearing, folding is fine.

The result has to be the product of consultation and cooperation of the group’s members.

3) When the teams are ready to present, ask each team to read the Hidden Words out loud.

4) Ask them what kind of hearts we are asked to have (pure, kindly, radiant)

5) Ask them what the lantern is and what properties and purpose it has (it is a device that gives light, made from glass, paper etc; radiant, luminescent; give warmth, illuminate the area).

6) Ask them what the heart and the lantern have in common.

7) Ask what happens if the lantern gets dirty.

8) Ask what happens if our hearts don’t have purity, kindness and radiance.

9) Summarizing the answers, talk about the correlation between the lantern and the heart and how both have the power to illuminate everything around. How the service makes our hearts be the guiding lanterns. Ask the participants if they can quote anything else from the Baha’i Writings on light of heart, illumination, becoming the light (“purify my heart, illumine my powers”, “create in me a pure heart”, “make of me a shining lamp and a brilliant start”).

10) Read out the quotation: “So powerful is the light of unity, that it can illuminate the whole earth“. Conclude by encouraging everyone to start their New Year by being the lights of guidance for everyone around.

Variation: Invite everyone to ignite the flash lights or electric tea lights and sing the Hawaii Unity Song together.

This activity is appropriate for any other occasion and of course you can modify it to suit your occasion!

Here are some pictures I took during the activity. Sorry, some came out a bit blurry!

  

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If you celebrated Nawruz, what were the activities you had during the celebration? Share with me – I’d love to hear about them!

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