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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, March 23, 2023


March 20, 2004 — People of the Baha'i faith will join others worldwide to celebrate their New Year, or Naw Ruz, this Sunday, March 21. Naw Ruz, which coincides with the first day of spring, symbolizes life's renewals, rebirth, and anticipates God's blessings for the coming year. For Baha'is, the refreshed "spring" feeling is particularly meaningful for those who have participated in the 19-day (one Baha'i month) fast from March 2 to 20.
The main teachings of the Baha'i faith focus on unity, the oneness of God, the oneness of religion and the oneness of mankind. Fasting has been practiced from the beginning of history, in almost every culture and religion and has various forms. The Baha'i fast, like Lent and Ramadan, restrict the intake of food and provide an opportunity for the body to rest and be cleansed.
Persons who fast benefit from the time spent in meditation and prayer and being "awakened." Baha'is who are young (under 15), elderly (over 70), pregnant, nursing, ill or engaged in heavy work are exempt from fasting from food and water from sunrise to sunset during the 19 days.
Alan Smith, a longtime St. John resident, remembers that the first fast for his son, Derik, occurred during the soccer season. Alan says that Derik could have opted not to fast given the strenuous physical activity, but that he continued the Fast. Derik's mother, Magda, recognizes "that doing without food is one thing," but that in this tropical climate, doing without water is at times a "real struggle."
Some Baha'is look forward to the slower pace they adopt during the fast, while others look forward to the time spent in prayer and meditation and fulfilling one of the laws of the faith.
The fast is preceded by Ayyam-i-ha (Feb 25 to March 1), which is also a very special time of fellowship and gift giving. Ayyam-i-ha provides spiritual preparation for the fast with hospitality, gift giving, charity and social gatherings. After Ayyam-i-ha, there is the fast, and the Baha'i community is strengthened, reinvigorated and refreshed for Naw Ruz, or the New Year.
To learn more about the Baha'i faith, 774-3648 or visit their Viirgin Islands Web site.

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