Articles by Sandra Lynn Hutchison

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Ridvan: April 21 – May 2


Ridvan: April 21 – May 2
Almost 150 years ago, Baghdad experienced a spring such as the city had never seen before and has not seen since. In the last week of April, a wind blew that lasted for days. In the Najibiyyih Garden, in Baghdad’s Rusafa district on the banks of the Tigris River, roses bloomed in profusion as the nightingale sang without restraint. But the spring of 1863 was memorable not only for its physical beauty. Today, it is remembered by Baha’is the world over for the historic declaration of Baha’u’llah, an exiled Persian nobleman, to a handful of friends and family members that he was the Promised One of all the religions, the one whose mission it would be to usher in the era of peace spoken of in all the holy books.  Read more »

Engaging the Spirituality of a Teenager

My daughter’s first year of high school was coming to an end, and we both needed a weekend away to restore body, mind and soul.  Read more »

Growing Up Baha’i in Rural Maine: A Not-so-Secret Double Life

My daughter seemed ill at ease in her first grade classroom.  Read more »

What Baha’i Parents Teach Their Children About Death

As a child, I attended a number of funerals in which this verse from Corinthians was read, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory,” usually at the end of the service, when the bereaved family most needed it.  Read more »

Giving Birth Naturally in Hong Kong, the Land of the Lucky

In a country where women routinely consult the Chinese zodiac to determine the most auspicious date for the caesarean delivery of their babies, I was preparing for a natural childbirth in a private English hospital on the top of Hong Kong’s highest mountain in the days just after the British handover of the colony to China. The handover had taken place in July, but in September, the lights from the handover celebration that drew millions and was watched on television all over the world, still bathed the city in brilliance.  Read more »

Dreaming of Peace and Roses

Come April, I dream of roses. Not about planting them or about cultivating them. The roses I dream of grow only in my imagination and begin to bloom there about the third week of April, during the Baha’i festival of Ridvan, when I call to mind the intoxicating scent of the sweet flower of my childhood that once grew in my grandmother’s garden—the Peace rose.  Read more »

Fasting and Feasting, Dancing to a Divine Rhythm

A brief nineteen days of austerity in a year filled with festive holy day celebrations, the Baha'i fast is assigned a spiritual significance that can be puzzling to those from religious traditions, cultures and societies in which fasting is not widely practiced.   Every hour of the nineteen days of this sunrise-to-sunset fast, the Baha'i scriptures tell us, is endowed with "a special virtue, inscrutable to all except [God].  Read more »

A Camel in the Closet: How One Baha’i Family Celebrates Ayyam-i-Ha

"What's a camel doing in the closet—in the winter, in Maine?" The camel, I told the children in my daughter's class, had come all the way from the Middle East, where our religion began. She was too big to fit into a chimney, so she came right in through the front door, and the coat closet right beside that door seemed the most obvious place for her to leave the presents.  Read more »

In the Bleak MidWinter: Teaching Our Children Spiritual Survival Skills

In the bleak midwinter, frost wind made moan, earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone; snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow…   Christmas has passed, but I can’t get these lines from Christina Rossetti’s poem out of my mind. The poem, which celebrates the spiritual renewal symbolized by the birth of Jesus in the middle of winter, was put to music by modern composer Gutav Holst early in the last century and is now a well-known Christmas carol that was featured on many of the radio programs I listened to during the holiday season.  Read more »

The Season of Stars

It is the season of stars--the star that led the magi to the Christ child; the Star of David, central symbol of the Jewish people, which shines so brightly on the world during the celebration of Hanukkah; and the nine-pointed Baha'i star that rises a little later in the winter season, in February, during Ayyam-i-Ha, the five days of hospitality and gift-giving that precede the Baha'i fast.  Read more »

A Religion of Spring

The Baha'i Faith was born in the spring, in 1863, in a garden in Baghdad. During Ridvan, the festival that commemorates that beginning, Baha'is around the world celebrate the declaration of Baha'u'llah, whose claim to be the Promised One foretold by all the religions of the past was astonishing to some, incredible to others and to a few, the answer to long search and much prayer.  Read more »
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