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by Source staff March 19, 2002 - Baha'is all over the world - including those in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands - celebrate the New Year, or Naw Ruz, on March 21, following 19 days of fasting from food and drink during daylight hours.

An opening prayer usually begins the Naw Ruz Holy Day celebration, followed by a dinner at sunset on Wednesday, March 20, which is the last day of the Baha'i Fast. Naw Ruz is celebrated with many symbols indicating spring and renewal, in many ways similar to Easter for Christians after the Lenten period. The celebrations are a very special time for Baha'is after the 19 days of fasting, it is a refreshing time to mix and share a meal with family and friends.

On St. Croix, the Baha'i community will celebrate the conclusion of the Fast and the beginning of Naw Ruz at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20, with a Potluck dinner at the home of the Glovers, for directions call 773-1364. On St. Thomas there will be similar celebrations on Wednesday, March 20 evening, call 777-8120 for information and directions.

Naw Ruz is one of the nine Baha'i Holy Days on which work is to be suspended.

Baha'is follow a solar calendar containing 19 months of 19 days each, with four (five in leap years) intercalary days to complete the 365 day year. On the first day of each Baha'i month, the community gathers for "Feast," a spiritual gathering of fellowship, unity and peace.

The new Baha'i year, 159 B.E. (Baha'i Era) begins on Thursday, March 21, 2002. March 21 coincides with the vernal equinox, the first day of spring and it symbolizes spiritual growth and renewal. The Baha'i Era was inaugurated in 1844 with the Declaration of the Bab, who proclaimed the closing of the present era and promised the coming of One who would open the next era, fulfilled in the person of Baha'u'llah, the Prophet for this age.

The main teachings of the Baha'i Faith focus on unity; the oneness of God, the oneness of religion, and the oneness of mankind.

For more information on the Baha'i Faith please call 340-774-3648 or visit the website at

©Copyright 2002, St. John Source

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