Sunday, March 15, 2009

Our Family's Fast Tradition

One of the great things about being part of a Baha'i family is that we have a whole world open to us to create and cherish our own traditions. The Faith embraces individuals of even the most obscure cultural and religious backgrounds. What we are creating is a new, independent model of the world that even as we all turn to one supreme guiding body, will look and feel as varied and unique as the individuals who make up the Faith. Just imagine what the Baha'i world looks and sounds like the day we each read the Ridvan message every April!

My children are blessed to be third generation Baha'is so while they experience some version of Christmas with great-grandparents, it is merely an unimpressive blip on continuum of our lives. What they look forward to most is the season of Fasting, bounded by Ayyam-i-Ha and Naw-Ruz. (In a later post, I will talk about our efforts to swing the excitement pendulum towards Ridvan, which, after all, is the Most Great Festival and deserves equal, if not greater attention.)

Our family has a Fast tradition that which started a few years ago when the kids were young. It has become something the kids look forward to every year.

During Ayyam-i-Ha, I set out candles on the coffee table. I use a glass display plate and place a large candle in the center surrounded by 18 smaller tea light candles. My favorite candles smell like rose which reminds me of the Shrines in Haifa and Akka.

Each night of Fast, before bed when it is totally dark, we turn off all the lights in the house and light the number of candles that matches the number of days of Fast. On the first night of Fast, we light one candle; on the second night, we light two candles; and so on. We save the large candle in the middle for the last night, the 19th day of Fast.

On the final night of Fast, all the candles are lit and it is a beautiful sight. It is very special to say prayers each night by candlelight and I hope it is a tradition the boys will share with their own families in the future.

1 comment:

  1. I love love love this idea. However I live in New Zealand where it's still summer during the Fast so the candles wouldnt show up while the kids were still awake... therefore I've decided to use your "adding every night" idea but instead of candles we'll use flowers (cut out of magazines) to a tree (empty sticks) so that the tree is full by Naw Ruz. Thanks for the inspiration!