Bahai News -- The Aeizona Republic - Baha'i holiday celebrated

Baha'i holiday celebrated

Lois McFarland
Special for The Republic
Mar. 22, 2003 12:00 AM

SCOTTSDALE - Nearly 400 men, women and children gathered at the Holiday Inn Sun Spree to celebrate Naw-Ruz, a Baha'i holy day marking the end of 19 days of fasting and the beginning of the Baha'i new year.

The celebration Thursday night opened with Lorintha Umtouch, a Yakima Native American and associate judge of the Fort McDowell Yavapai tribe, reciting a Baha'i prayer set to a Native American rhythm.

Naw-Ruz is considered a national holiday for the 6 million Baha'is living in 235 countries and territories throughout the world, with celebrations taking place after sunset. Local groups celebrating together with Scottsdale were Paradise Valley and Fountain Hills, with visitors from India, Malaysia, Iran and El Salvador.

"For more than a century, Baha'i communities around the globe have been working to break down barriers of prejudice between peoples and have collaborated with other like-minded groups to promote the model of a global society," said Kevin Parsi, secretary of the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Scottsdale.

The Baha'i faith believes humanity is a single people with a common destiny. "In the words of Baha'u'llah, the founder of our faith, the Earth is but one country and mankind its citizens." Parsi said.

Although the celebration was joyful, Parsi recognized the great turmoil throughout the world.

"We hope and pray that all conflicts will be resolved quickly and as peacefully as possible," Parsi said. "The aim of the Baha'is is to reconcile viewpoints, to heal divisions and to bring about tolerance and mutual respect among men. We are confident world peace is not only possible but inevitable."

Mona Abeyasundrai and her husband, Kana Chinasamy, vice chairman of the local spiritual assembly, spoke by phone with their daughter, Maureen, an Arizona State University student studying in France.

"We never wanted it (the war) to happen," Abeyasundrai said. "It saddens us."

"We feel for the mothers, brothers and sisters who have relatives over there," added Chinasamy, originally from Malaysia.

"My prayer for Naw-Ruz (New Day in Farsi) is to have peace for all the world," said Roshan Zamani, who escaped from Iran through the mountains to Pakistan in 1982 with her two sons. Zamani still has one brother and three sisters in Tehran.

"We wanted to recognize the current crisis and pray for all of humanity," said Susan Shahidi, the evening's emcee.

The Scottsdale Baha'i community meets every 19th day, which represents the beginning of a new Baha'i month. The next spiritual gathering will be Sunday at the Holiday Inn Sun Spree Resort, 7601 E. Indian Bend Road.

©Copyright 2003, The Arizona Republic (AZ, USA)

Following is the URL to the original story. The site may have removed or archived this story. URL: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/0322necelebration22.html


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