Commemoration of Twin Holy Days in Westminster Central Hall

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Friends gather during official programme to commemorate Twin Holy Days Celebration.

 

LONDON, 17 November 2015 – UK Members of Parliament and the House of Lords joined a diverse range of civil society and inter-faith representatives to celebrate the Bahá’í Twin Holy Days, commemorating the births of the twin Founders of the Bahá’í Faith, The Báb and Bahá’u’lláh.

Louise Ellman MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Friends of the Bahá’ís Group, welcomed all those gathered and highlighted that the “special” celebration of the Twin Holy Days, which was celebrated in over 200 communities around the world, coincided with the launch of the Badí calendar.

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Louise Ellman MP welcomes all those gathered.

The launch of a new Bahá’í calendar represents a new chapter in the development of the Bahá’í Faith. Each month in the Bahá’í calendar is named after an attribute or quality of God. These attributes include, among others, Beauty, Splendour, Honour, and also a month of Questions. Mindful of the power of questions posed in a loving spirit of enquiry, Bahá’ís around the world are striving to explore with like minded others, how to align one’s inner life with these attributes, in order to contribute towards the betterment of neighbourhoods and communities.

In a message addressed to all those gathered at the celebration, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon acknowledged the efforts of Bahá’ís in working to strengthen and reinforce bonds of unity within communities, stating that, “The Baha’i community’s contribution to building stronger and cohesive nations are reflective of the words of Baha’u’llah when he said ‘the earth is but one country and mankind its citizens…These are sentiments which resonate with people of all faiths and none, and underline the shared values of humanity”.

Referring to the various conflicts and distressing events occurring around the world, Annabel Djalili, speaking on behalf of the Bahá’í community, acknowledged the many disintegrating forces that are challenging our society today, whilst at the same time asked how we can empower ourselves and other to be forces of integration, contributing to the advancement of civilisation. Mrs Djalili invited the gathering to reflect upon the role religion can play in unlocking the potential in people to become positive agents of change at the heart of society.

Luke Slott performs music composed to Baha'i Writings

Luke Slott performs music composed to Baha’i Writings.

The programme for this momentous occasion closed with music composed to the words of Bahá’u’lláh, “So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth”, reminding all those gathered of the powerful force of unity.

An integral part of the evening consisted of the uplifting conversations held between all those gathered, and the enriching explorations of pertinent themes relating to contributing towards social cohesion and the betterment of our society.

Bahá’ís, MPs and Eric Pickles celebrate Ridvan festival at House of Commons

Eric Pickles MP

Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP (left) addresses Bahá’í festival celebration, chaired by Louise Ellman MP (right)

LONDON, 2 May 2014 – At a reception held in the Houses of Parliament here, the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has stated his admiration for the Bahá’í Faith and its ideals.

The Bahá’í principle of the oneness of mankind is one ‘which we strive to promote in the UK,’ the Right Honourable Eric Pickles MP told a gathering of more than 100 guests.

‘We all have in common our basic humanity and it’s this oneness that inspires the Bahá’í Faith.’

Mr Pickles was speaking at the Houses of Parliament on 30 April at a celebration of the annual Baha’i festival of Ridván. Among those present were government officials, parliamentarians, representatives of faith communities and civil society organisations, and foreign diplomats.

‘Your message of unity ripples down the ages,’ Mr. Pickles said.

The activities that Bahá’ís offer in neighbourhoods and localities, designed to build bonds of community and encourage spiritual renewal, were also singled out for praise by the Secretary of State.

‘Your knack in promoting oneness is inspiring – and a little humbling,’ he said.

Welcoming the guests, Louise Ellman MP – who is the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Bahá’í Faith – said that ‘we want to showcase the Bahá’í community’ and its contributions to UK society, while also raising awareness about the situation of the persecuted Bahá’ís of Iran.

Guests at Ridván celebration

Lord Hylton (left) & Lord Avebury (centre) were guests at the Ridván celebration

The Ridván festival marks the first public declaration by Bahá’u’lláh – the Faith’s Prophet-founder – in a garden in Baghdad, in April 1863. There He informed His friends and family members of His mission to unite the human race and establish universal peace.

‘So the Bahá’í Faith began in a garden,’ said Sahba Besharati, speaking on behalf of the Bahá’í community, ‘the Garden of Ridván, and the word Ridván means Paradise – aptly so, since Bahá’u’lláh’s vision was to transform this troubled world into a heavenly garden, where diversity is celebrated, and where the different colours and shapes of the flowers of the garden serve to further enhance the beauty and the harmony of the whole garden.’

In 2012, Mr. Pickles launched the ‘A Year of Service’ initiative at the National Bahá’í Centre in London, and last year he hosted a group of Bahá’ís to celebrate the centenary of the visit to the United Kingdom by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá – Bahá’u’lláh’s son and successor.