December 9, 2019


The year 2019 marked the 200th anniversary of the Birth of the Báb, who was the forerunner and herald to the Bahá’í Faith. In the weeks preceding the anniversary Bahá'ís and their friends across Ottawa marked this special Bicentenary with a rich tapestry of celebrations involving over 80 events and 1,800 participants. The events ranged from small, intimate groups in homes to public events of 150 or more individuals. Artistic endeavours formed a strong part of many events including concerts, skits, songs and the creation of a quilt. The new bicentenary film, Dawn of the Light, which explores the search for truth and meaning, was shown at several events.

In one such event, a group of friends living in the Donald street area of Vanier, decided to visit all the families of their children and junior youth participants. Over the month of October, they carried out visits to all the families involved in the educational programs in order to share with them the joy of the news and worldwide celebration of the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Báb.

These were wonderful opportunities to learn more about the Twin Messengers of God for this Day, the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh, and the wonderful message of love, peace and change they brought to the world. It also created multiple spaces where friends and family joined in prayer for the spiritual growth of their children as well as gratitude for all the bounties received from God. Everyone was also invited to a neighborhood celebration on the Bicentenary.

On the day of the celebration, everybody gathered – children, junior youth, parents, teachers, animators, helpers, and other friends from the neighborhood – in a beautifully decorated room, bringing the attendance close to 100 people. The program started with a series of prayers and songs presented by the children and junior youth. All the groups and classes had learned the same songs, so the voices of the entire room were beautifully raised as one.

Each age group was then ushered into their own room, which had a dedicated program tailored for them. Parents and adults enjoyed some storytelling about the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh followed by a screening of the film documentary on the Báb titled Dawn of the Light. The children's room activities included face painting and then they all participated in some collective coloring of big beautiful posters marking the Bicentenary, while junior youth painted small canvases that were collated together into a united whole. The afternoon concluded with snacks, cake and socializing that was permeated in a spirit of fellowship and joy.

At the other end of the city, the friends in Orléans held a Soul Food: Special Edition celebration at the Shenkman Arts Centre, which saw almost 80 people attending, including seven guests. The team met several times to create the original program which included a beautiful audio-visual presentation of the Writings of the Báb, prayers sung in English, French, Arabic and Mandarin, along with readings from the holy texts. A husband-wife duo sang and played guitar to a couple of prayers as well as The Queen of Carmel, bringing further joy to the celebration. This was followed by refreshments where fresh flowers adorned tables with prayer cards offered as gifts.

These are only a few of the many celebrations that occurred across the city to celebrate the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Báb.

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