Mangaung Bahá’ís join the Bahá’í communities all around the world to celebrate their New Year on 20 March. The celebrations vary from community to community. Bahá’ís welcome people of diverse backgrounds and religions to join them in celebrating their New Year.
The Baha’i New Year, known as Naw-Ruz (literally ‘New Day’), is the first day of the first of 19 months in the Bahá’í calendar. The Bahá’í calendar dates its years from 1844, which marks the beginning of the Bahá’í Era. This year is 178 B.E. (Bahá’í Era).
The Bahá’í Faith – the youngest of the world’s independent religions – has now become the second-most widespread Faith in its geographic reach and is among the fastest growing world religions. Bahá’í literature has been translated into more than 800 languages
Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, taught that there is only one God; that there is only one human race; and that all the world’s religions have been progressive stages in the revelation of God’s will and purpose for humanity.
The belief and conviction that we all belong to one human family is at the heart of the Bahá’í Faith. The principle of the oneness of humanity is “the pivot round which all the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh revolve”. The oneness of humanity does not imply uniformity: the Bahá’í Writings affirm the principle of ‘unity in diversity’.
It is a central theme in the Bahá’í teachings that humanity is one: that the diversity of ethnic backgrounds adds to the beauty and perfection of the whole, and that the day has come for the unification of humanity into one global society. In the Bahá’í view nothing but the transforming power of the Word of God, shared with us through His Manifestation for this day, can ultimately succeed in bringing about this unity. With unity, a unity that welcomes and honours the full diversity of mankind, the problems which face humanity today, can be solved.
In this regard Bahá’u’lláh writes: “The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established”and”So powerful is the light of unity,”is hisfurther testimony,”that it can illuminate the whole earth”.
The Bahá’í beliefs also address such essential themes as the oneness of all major world religions, the progressive revelation of religious truth, freedom from all types of prejudice, the fundamental equality of the men and women, the harmony between religion and science, the inherent nobility of the human being, the crucial need for development of spiritual qualities, the importance of integrating worship and service, the centrality of justice to all human endeavours, the importance of universal education, and the dynamics of the relationships that are to bind together individuals, communities, and institutions as humanity advances towards its collective maturity.
Through inspiration from the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, Bahá’ís worldwide work to improve their own lives and contribute to the advancement of civilization. They welcome everyone to join them in a united effort to build a civilization based on justice, unity and peace.
The Bahá’í Faith has its own calendar based on the solar year. The year is divided into nineteen months of nineteen days each month. Four intercalary days are added (and in the leap years a fifth day) to make up the year. The months are named after some of the attributes of God such as might, glory and grandeur.
The Bahá’í New Year coincides with the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere, the vernal equinox. Spring is the time of freshness and renewal in nature. It is also symbolic of the coming of the spiritual spring. It serves as a reminder of the oneness of all the Messengers of God, and the spiritual springtime they each brought to humanity.
As stated in the Bahá’í Writings:
“At the time of the vernal equinox in the material world a wonderful vibrant energy and new life-quickening is observed everywhere in the vegetable kingdom; the animal and human kingdoms are resuscitated and move forward with a new impulse. The whole world is born anew, resurrected. Gentle zephyrs are set in motion, wafting and fragrant; flowers bloom; the trees are in blossom, the air temperate and delightful; how pleasant and beautiful become the mountains, fields and meadows. Likewise, the spiritual bounty and springtime of God quicken the world of humanity with a new animus and vivification. All the virtues which have been deposited and potential in human hearts are being revealed from that Reality as flowers and blossoms from divine gardens. It is a day of joy, a time of happiness, a period of spiritual growth”.
OPINION: Flora Teckie