Today Is Naurooz Bahá’í New Year
Today, which marks the official arrival of spring, also is Naurooz, New Year of the Bahá’ís, the Persian sect, regarded by many authorities as the great religious movement of modern times.
This evening at the home of Mrs. Alice Ives Breed, a well-known club woman and Bahá’í missionary, 367 Harvard street, Cambridge, 30 followers in Boston and vicinity of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the living promulgator of the religion, will gather at the Feast of Naurooz, in observance of the date.
At the feast will be none of the oriental mysticism and ceremony which popularly is supposed to surround any religion unknown in occidental countries. There will be readings from the books of The Báb and Bahá’u’lláh, dead Bahá’í prophets, and of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, present head of the sect. A simple evening meal will be served.
During his visit, which may last for months, he will stay at a hotel, and according to Mrs. Breed he will receive any one who may wish to call. He is democratic in the extreme, she says, and will have but a few attendants, probably a servant to cook his food and an interpreter, for he speaks nothing but Persian.
Will Greet Him
Mrs. Breed will be among the hundreds of Bahá’ís from the different parts of the United States who will greet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá when he sets foot in New York. He will spend but a few days in New York, going from there to Washington to attend the convention of the American-Persian Educational Society convention, which will convene April 17.
From Washington ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will go to Chicago to attend the annual convention of Mashrak-al-Azkar - which, translated, means “The dawning place of meeting”; still more liberally, “The temple.”
It is an association of Bahá’ís who are planning to erect a Bahá’í temple on the shore of Lake Michigan. There are Bahá’ís in the association from every part of the country. Already they have purchased land for the erection on the north shore of the lake of the worshipping place, which will be the only one of the sect in America. There is but one other Bahá’í temple in the world, located at Askobard, Russia. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will come directly from Chicago to Boston.
While he is here there will be as little publicity as possible, Mrs. Breed says.
The life and history of both the Bahá’í movement and its present leader are unusual. The movement began in 1844 with the teachings of Mohammed Ali, who was called The Báb, meaning the gate between heaven and earth. He announced the dawn of a great day of God, when all men should recognize their fatherhood in God. He declared, also, that another should come who would give the divine message for his time, and whom he called Bahá’u’lláh, or the Glory of God.
Houssein Ali, prince of Nur, a division of the Persian royal family, and father of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, was Bahá’u’lláh.
In explaining the Bahá’í manner of observing the New Year of the sect, Mrs. Breed, who is the mother of Mme. Ali Kula Khan, wife of the Persian charge d’affaires at Washington, and herself a prominent Bahá’í, said that the movement simply is for the religious unification of all people.
“So you see there can be nothing mysterious about it,” she said. “The date of our New Year, I think, is significant. It is the beginning of spring. The Bahá’í movement is the beginning of better things - universal brotherhood and universal religion.”
Mrs. Breed will announce at the meeting tonight the coming to America and to Boston of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the head of the religion, who is expected to arrive in New York about April 8.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, who for more than 50 years was a prisoner in Turkey, as a result of persecution by the Persian Mohammedans of his father, Bahá’u’lláh, the second prophet of the Bahá’ís, will be in Boston some time during the latter part of May.
[picture caption: ‘ABDU’L-BAHA. From the first photo ever taken of him, but a short time ago, who is now in Boston organizing his religion of Bahá’ísm.]