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Web posted Friday, March 22, 2002

Baha'is begin new year celebration

A new year began for members of the Baha'i Faith on Thursday, the first day of spring and the beginning of the year 159 B.E.

The letters "B.E." mean "Baha'i era," for the calendar dates from the time of the religion's origin in Persia in 1844.

Naw-Ruz, is one of nine Holy Days each year on which Baha'is suspend work. It always falls on March 21 and comes at the end of 19 days of fasting, when Baha'is abstain from all food and drink between the hours of sunrise and sunset.

The Baha'i calendar consists of 19 months of 19 days each. Every month is named for an attribute of God, such as Glory, Beauty, Perfection, Justice and Mercy.

The Baha'i month begins with a gathering called "Feast," when members of Baha'i communities around the world come together in their localities for prayer, community consultation and fellowship.

The Baha'i Faith, the second most widely spread religion in the world after Christianity, has more than 5 million members worldwide of whom 142,000 reside in the United States.

It is the most widely spread religion in the world after Christianity. The World Center is in Haifa, Israel.

©Copyright 2002, Kenai Peninsula Clarion (AK)

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