A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Martyrdom of the Báb (سيد علی محمد شیرازی). Bahá’í Holy Day on anniversary of the 1850 execution by firing squad in Tabriz, Persia of the 30-year-old herald of the Bahá’í Faith. This was on the 17th day of the month of Raḥmat 178 BE in the 1844 CE Bahá’í calendar, which is based on the Badíʻ calendar. Bahá’ís suspend work on this Holy Day and the death is commemorated at noon with readings and prayers from the Bahá’í Scriptures. On His way to His cell the night before, a young man, Anís (Mulla Muhammad Ali), threw himself at the feet of the Báb, wanting to be killed with Him. Arrested and put in the same cell, they were both taken to the courtyard where nearly 10,000 wished to watch the executions. The Báb and His disciple were suspended by ropes from a nail in the wall, facing 750 soldiers, whose firing only cut the ropes and clouded the scene. When the smoke lifted, the Báb was not there, only His disciple standing under the nail. The Báb was found in the cell, continuing the conversation with His amanuensis Siyyid Ḥusayn Yazdí that had been interrupted by his arrest. A Nasiri Afghan regiment replaced the previous Armenian soldiers and the Báb and His disciple were again suspended at the earlier spot. Their bodies were shattered by the shots and their flesh united. The Bahá’í day runs from sunset to sunset and Bahá’ís commemorate 11 Holy Days each year. These are often observed with community gatherings in large or small settings such as Bristol and Portishead, open to all and with programmes befitting the significance of the day. Most Bahá’í Holy Days are set according to the Badíʻ solar calendar consisting of 19 months and 4 or 5 Intercalary Days, with New Year on the northern Spring Equinox. Each month is named after virtues, Raḥmat (رحمة) meaning Mercy, as are the days of the week, of which Friday (Istiqlál ,استقلال, Independence) is the last and was previously a day of rest. The first year in the calendar was the year in which the Báb began teaching. The Holy Days marking the birthdays of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh are set according to the lunar Islamic calendar and commemorate the 20 October 1819 CE first day of Muharram, and the 12 November 1817 CE second day of Muharram. Image: worldreligionnews.com.
Prayer from Persian Bayán and the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb There is no paradise more wondrous for any soul than God’s Manifestation in His Day, hearing and believing His verses, attaining naught but His presence to sail upon the sea of the heavenly kingdom of His good-pleasure and partake of the choice fruits of the paradise of divine Oneness. We give ear unto that which is being sent down from the Throne of the Lord, the Inaccessible, the Most Great. There is none other God but Him. He hath called into being His creatures, that they may know Him, Who is the Compassionate, the All-Merciful. Unto the cities of all nations He hath sent His Messengers, Whom He hath commissioned to announce unto men tidings of the Paradise of His good-pleasure, and to draw them nigh unto the Haven of abiding security, the Seat of eternal holiness and transcendent glory. آمین
Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Chiquinquirá (Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquirá, La Chinita). Celebration of 1709 image painted on a cotton support and kept in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Chiquinquirá, Colombia, where the first of the Virgin’s miraculous manifestations occurred. The original Sixteenth-Century image of the Virgin of Chiquinquirá, painted on wood and found on the shores of Lake Maracaibo, is now in the Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Chiquinquirá y Cristo de Aranza in Maracaibo and is known as La Chinita. This Rosary of Chiquinquirá appeared to a humble old lady who was washing clothes in the river Coquivacoa when she found the small wooden tablet floating on the water. Not knowing what it was but thinking she could find some use for it, she took it home with her and the following day heard a knocking sound and found that the tablet was shining, miraculously showing the image of Our Lady of the Rosary. Each year, from 17 to 19 November, the city of Maracaibo and Zulia State celebrate the traditional Feast of La Chinita (Feria de la Chinita) with Masses and normally with processions in honour of the Virgin. Although the Galician gaita (goat, membrane of the furro drum) is a bagpipe, in the south of Spain and Portugal it denotes a variety of horn-, flute- or oboe-like instruments. The Feria de la Chinita is celebrated with Gaita Zuliana (Gaita) Maracaibero Venezuelan folk music and dance accompanied by instrumental or vocal performances with maracas (originally divination rattles), cuatros (four-stringed small guitar derivatives), charrascas (jawbones used as percussion instruments) and tambura (plucked four-stringed drones). The song themes range from the romantic to the political, the style having become popular throughout Venezuela in the 1960s, fusing with other styles such as salsa and merengue in the 1970s and now including a unique and distinct style of music influenced by many Afro-Caribbean and Iberian rhythms. Trinidad and Tobago has adopted the Parang (Gaita) with some variations. In 2012, the Feria de la Chinita started to be celebrated in Barcelona, Catalonia (Catalunya, Catalonha, Cataluña) with traditional Venezuelan food such as pabellón Criollo (beef stew), cachitos de jamón (ham croissants), cachapas (maize pancakes), patacones (fried plantain) and bollitos pelones (minced beef meatballs). Venerated in Catholic Church and the northern Andes region. Alternative celebration of 1709 image 26 December. Feast Day Maracaibo 18 November. Patroness of Colombia, Maracaibo and Zulia, Caraz, Peru, Venezuelan National Guard. Image: aciprensa.com.
Act Against Slavery in Upper Canada. Commemoration of 1793 ban on the importation of slaves, which after passage of the Act led to freeing those born into slavery. British Lieutenant Colonel John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada (Ontario), argued that Christian teaching opposed slavery and that the British Constitution did not allow it. He pledged to never support a law that: “Discriminates by dishonest policy between the Natives of Africa, America or Europe.” The legislation repealed the Imperial Statute of 1790 allowing settlers to bring slaves into Upper Canada, meaning that any enslaved seeking the Canaan Land (Canada) would be automatically free and any child born to a slave mother after the legislation would become free at 25. When the 1833 British Imperial Act abolished slavery throughout the British Empire, very few slaves remained in Upper and Lower Canada. The following decades saw increases in Anti-Slavery Societies and abolitionist sympathisers as the fugitive enslaved increased in number and found freedom in Canada. The Toronto Anti-Slavery Society resolved that: “Slavery is an outrage to the laws of humanity and its continued practice demands the best exertions for its extinction.” The number of freedom seekers fleeing to Canada increased and one hundred members of a Black Baptist church in Buffalo, New York and almost all of the 114 members of the Baptist Church in Rochester, New York fled to Canada. Black waiters in the Pittsburgh Hotel armed themselves and headed for the Canadian border, as they were determined to die rather than be captured. Land and water travel on the Underground Railroad, which had been established in the USA in the early- to mid-Nineteenth Century as a network of secret routes and safe houses for enslaved African Americans, primarily for escape into free states and Canada, was made more efficient in the 1850s with the expanding railroads and all types of boats being used to reach Canadian shores. Integrity and spirituality were prerequisites for the political, legal, business and faith leaders who committed their lives and resources to the abolitionist cause. Image: heritagetrust.on.ca.