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Community News Current
May 18, 2018


ALL ABOARD THE NIGHTINGALE EXPRESS!The Ridván period (April 21 to May 2 2018) saw many Baha'i families across the city celebrate this special time in a diversity of ways. The Talisman family which includes parents Brooke and Emad and their 2 children live in the Qualicum neighbourhood in Ottawa. The family created a magical and welcoming event where a small group of 13 friends celebrated the first day of Ridván. In Brooke's words, “it was such a lovely chance to deepen our friendships with the entire family of our children’s class participants, especially when the day was directly focused on the person of Baháu’lláh and His message of unity and peace!”

ALL ABOARD THE NIGHTINGALE EXPRESS!Brooke then explained: “We began the 1st day of Ridván Celebration by handing out tickets to “The Nightingale Express” – a train that takes you back in time to Baghdad in 1863. Our son acted as the conductor and he stamped our tickets for the first day. We then traveled on the train down the stairs and paddled across the Tigris river in our boat (a blue swath of material served as the river and a hole hoop with paddles for the boat). Our guests then entered the Garden of Ridván and experienced a room full of every plant in our home and a television playing a video of singing nightingales.  Our daughter welcomed our guests into the Tent of Bahá'u'lláh and anointed their hands with rosewater." Read more...

Community News Current
May 3, 2018

Baha'is Mark the Ridvan Festival

Baha'is Mark the Ridvan FestivalBaha'is across the City of Ottawa marked the Festival of Ridván during the period April 21 to May 2 this year. The Ridván Festival has particular significance for the Baha'i community as it is the time when Bahá’u’lláh, prophet-founder of the Faith, publicly declared His Mission to a few of his followers in the Garden of Najíbiyyih, on the banks of the Tigris river in Baghdad.  Baha'u'llah later named it the Garden of Ridván, meaning “Paradise”.
Across the ages, the coming of each Messenger of God leads to renewal and revitalization of society and civilizations. So it is that Baha'is believe that the declaration of Baha'u'llah as a Messenger of God released forces that are bringing about the spiritual transformation of humanity and the world that continues to this day and for a thousand years to come.
In one of His Tablets launching the Festival of Ridván, Bahá’u’lláh refers to the appellation "the Blissful" – a word that means the highest level of joy, of rapture and of perfect happiness. This title also characterizes the bliss with which the Ottawa Baha'i community celebrated the Ridván Festival with a diversity of celebrations across Canada's capital.
The 1st, 9th and 12th Days of the Ridván Festival period are marked as special days in which Baha'is suspend work and school - a time of celebration, reflection and service. Special commemorations were held in more than 10 locations across the city on the 1st Day of Ridvan - April 21.

Community News Current
March 28, 2018

Naw-Ruz celebrations held across Ottawa

Naw-Ruz celebrations held across OttawaMarch 21st ushered in the first day of spring, a time when Canadians begin to look forward to warmer weather. The date is significant in many countries, with different ethnic and cultural groups around the world celebrating their new year at the same time as the spring equinox. In addition, for the world-wide Baha'i community, March 21st this year also marked the beginning of a new year - the 175th year of the Badi calendar.  For Baha'is, the new year coincides with the completion of a 19-day period of fasting. This is a period in which Baha'is strive for spiritual renewal - a time for reflection, contemplation, mindfulness, prayer and a quest to improve our character. Just as the spring equinox heralds a time of renewal as the snow melts, and the landscape slowly but surely awakens from its winter hibernation, so also, the Baha'i new year represents a time of renewal of the spirit.

Naw-Ruz celebrations held across OttawaThis year, Baha'i families across the city of Ottawa welcomed the new year with much joy and happiness. In the east end community of Orleans, the Missaghian family celebrated Naw-Ruz with a small gathering of friends and neighbours on March 24. "This new year is a particularly special one as it is the first one following the 200th anniversary of the birth of Baha'u'llah", said Nadim Missaghian, who works for Public Services and Procurement Canada.

Nadim, his wife Christina  and their two teenage daughters decided to do something special to celebrate Naw-Ruz. In addition to serving coffee, tea and delicious sweets and decorating the house with streamers and balloons, the family setup three conversation stations on the main floor - one in the living room, one in the dining room and one in the kitchen. Each station was marked by a different theme - elimination of all forms of prejudice, progressive revelation and unity in diversity. more...

Community News Current
February 28, 2018

Bahá’í Community Celebrates Ayyám-i-Há!

Bahá’í Community Celebrates Ayyám-i-Há!Ayyám-i-Há is a period of hospitality and gift-giving celebrated by Bahá’í communities throughout the world in individual homes and in larger gatherings.

On 25 February 2018, a group of 40 Bahá’ís in the North Nepean area, along with their friends held their annual Ayyám-i-Há celebration at the Nepean Sportplex. Over 40 people of all ages came out to celebrate this year’s holiday theme of Singing in the Rain and mother nature certainly obliged by sending a downpour of freezing rain on the same day!

The celebration of Ayyám-i-Há, also known as The Intercalary Days, is a period of 4-5 days at the end of February that fall immediately before the Bahá’í month of Fasting. Bahá’u’lláh said of these days: It behoveth the people of Bahá, throughout these days, to provide good cheer for themselves, their kindred and, beyond them, the poor and needy, and with joy and exultation to hail and glorify their Lord, to sing His praise and magnify His Name; and when they end — these days of giving that precede the season of restraint — let them enter upon the Fast.
The room which hosted the celebration was decorated with cheerful spring-themed cut-outs: frogs, ducks, and umbrellas! The celebration began with a delicious potluck lunch, followed by Readings and Prayers about the significance and meaning of Ayyám-i-Há, the nature of the upcoming Fast and the theme of rain and sunshine in the Bahá’í Writings. more...

Community News Current
December 27, 2017

Light of Unity Concert Marks Bicentenary Birth of Bahá’u’lláh

Light of Unity Concert Marks Bicentenary Birth of Bahá’u’lláhFiona Armstrong had a strong desire to befittingly commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Baha'u'llah. To fulfill this wish, she conceived a plan for a musical gala which would celebrate and pay tribute to Bahá’u’lláh. This wish and plan became the Light of Unity Concert which drew many attendees on Saturday evening September 23, 2017. The concert was held in the Freiman performance hall in the University of Ottawa Music building, a building Fiona was well familiar with, as a recent graduate from the University's music program.

A diverse audience enjoyed an evening, which was stunning in its musical diversity and quality, a worthy gift for Bahá’u’lláh.

The program opened with hostess Vivi Sorensen performing an East Greenlandic drum dance. Melody Rowhani then sang Bahá’í prayers accompanied by the ukelele, a rendition which created a reflective and spiritual atmosphere for subsequent performances. Fiona played cello as part of three very different duos: a lovely classical cello duo by Handel with Natalie Salguero; a beautiful tune composed for the occasion by Fiona and May-Jun Li, who played piano and sang; and two modern pop-based pieces with Tyler Carlson on guitar.

The audience was treated to performance by a number of other highly accomplished musicians. This included Leslie Opatril who performed a soaring flute solo. Valeria Dimitrova presented moving piano solos by Barber and Beethoven. Kevin Burke’s rich baritone was accompanied by pianist Ylan Chu in a series of chansons romantiques. A week later, Kevin sang with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra at the Shenkman Centre. To close the show, Risa Tonita talked about Robert Schumann and read his love letter to Clara (later his wife). She then performed two of Schumann’s piano compositions.  more...

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