Tonight our Baha'i community celebrated Ayyám-i-Há.
From the US Baha'i website, on the meaning of Ayyám-i-Há:
Baha'is celebrate the festival of Ayyam-i-Ha each year from sunset on Feb. 25 to sunset of March 1 as a preparation for the Fast, which begins March 2 and ends March 20. During Ayyam-i-Ha, members of the Faith perform acts of charity, give gifts to friends and family, and attend social gatherings.
Baha'u'llah has said of Ayyam-i-Ha: "It behoveth the people of Baha, throughout these days, to provide good cheer for themselves, their kindred and, beyond them, the poor and needy, and with joy and exultation to hail and glorify their Lord, to sing His praise and magnify His Name."
We had a potluck dinner at the lovely home of Pam and Scott in Riegelsville. After some devotions and prayers, we had our community gift exchange. Each person could either choose a wrapped gift or "steal" a gift from another person. The hot ticket items were some signed Batman comics, an art kit, and a pretty shirt. After hanging on to a golf ball collection and fly fishing book for most of the exchange (!), I finally ended up with a little purse (perfect to put in my backpack for our after hike dinners), a hand made necklace, and a silvery Hannah Montana scarf (this girl will be stylin'!). We had a fabulous time enjoying each other's company, and Pam and Scott showed us their beautiful studios. Pam is a fashion designer and Scott is a comic book creator.
Ayyám-i-Há is also a time for charity, and we collected items for a food drive and money for the new Baha'i temple in Santiago, Chile.
My contribution to our potluck was this Chocolate Orange cake from the Fat Free Vegan.
During this time of celebration and hospitality, our hearts and prayers go out to our fellow Baha'is in Iran spending these holidays unjustly imprisoned. The latest updates can be found on Persecution of Baha'is in Iran and on Iran Press Watch.