21 March, 2016
LAHORE: People from Bahá’í community on Sunday celebrated Naw-Ruz festival – a new day of a new year and one of the nine holydays on which the followers suspend routine work.
The festival marks the end of the 19-day fasting month and falls at the spring equinox. “Naw-Rúz is the first day of the month of Baha which is the first month in the Baha’icalendar,” according to the religion.
In Lahore, the followers observed the festival at the Baha’i Centre with prayer and celebration that combined with a feast as the sunset before the new day signals the end of the fast. As per traditions, the food, fun and music were part of the festivities. On the occasion, the followers of the Baha’i faith visit their relatives and friends, besides exchanging gifts.
“Naw-Rúz is the time of the year when people meet one another, share happiness and love and step forward for their services towards humanity,” said Subhan Boor Boor, one of the followers. Nouruz is also celebrated by Zoroastrians and often in parts of the countries where Persian-speaking Muslims can be found.
It is pertinent to mention here that there is a difference between the Baha’i holiday of Nouruz and the Persian holiday of Nouruz. However, the theme of celebrating a new day remains the same. “We, apart from our rituals, pledge start of some volunteer service for the welfare of mankind,” said Junaid Javaid, another follower of the religion. “I personally pledge that I will explore capabilities in young people and will make a social interaction with them with a visible and positive approach,” he said.
“I will do whatever I can but all this will be on voluntarily basis and without any sense of return from our society,” he said. He also pledged that he would work for the betterment of neglected children in his area. “I believe that our children need education and proper care to become a responsible citizen,” he said.
The festival is celebrated with many symbols indicating spring and renewal. Apart from being a time of joy and celebration, Nouruz also signifies renewal and change. People of Baha’icommunity follows few fixed rules while observing Nouruz, although Persian speaking (or inspired) often follow Iranian traditions. According to the religion, the fasting is seen as a period of spiritual preparation and regeneration for the New Year ahead. But the sick, elderly, and very young are exempted from fasting, as are pregnant or nursing mothers, travellers and those doing heavy physical work. The principles of Bahai community include the oneness of mankind, abolishing racial and class prejudice and the equality of men and women.