Local Baha'is Prepare for Their Faith's New Year

March 18, 2010

Author: Julie Mullen

Source: The Courier-News/Sun-Times Media


The notion that everyone on Earth is part of one single race, and diversity only enriches the fabric of mankind isn't, perhaps, a common view.

But for the Baha'is, it's the very cornerstone of their religion.

The worldwide faith, which includes a 30-member worship group in Elgin, is sharing its vision this month as its new year approaches.

"I am really drawn to the message of unity, that we are one family," said Elgin resident Penny Schmicker. "Our differences are just like different flowers in a garden, which makes the garden more beautiful."

Sunday marks the new year, or Naw-Rúz, for Baha'is everywhere -- a date that is preceded by a 19-day fast.

The Baha'i calendar is made up of 19 months, each with 19 days. The four leftover days (five in a leap year) fall in front of the fast and are referred to as Ayyami-i-Ha, a time for small gift-giving and service to the community.