BY JACOB MILLICAN
I look at the garden, seeing the crocuses and daffodils in different states of emergence from the earth.
I smile, because I am looking at the greens, yellows and purples in the afternoon light — it is not pitch dark when I arrive home any more. It calms and delights me at the same time, to see the jays, chickadees, finches and robins flitting about the feeder and among the rhododendrons. Spring is not quite here, but we are on the cusp.
In fact, the first day of spring holds a special place in the Baha’i calendar. This day is known as Naw Ruz, or New Year in Farsi, highlighting the Persian roots of the religion.
Naw Ruz occurs at the vernal equinox and typically involves a large feast, as it marks the end of the 19-day fasting period for Baha’is.
It also involves such traditions as leaping over bonfires and the haft-sin, or arrangement of seven objects on a table that begin with the letter “s” in Farsi, for example, hyacinths, apples, lilies, silver coins, garlic, vinegar and rue.
Most importantly though, it celebrates the rebirth of the land, as well as man’s spirituality, a time perhaps more well suited to recognize the arrival of a “new year.”
Baha’i scriptures make many references to nature, outside of Naw Ruz. “Garden of thy heart,” “rose of thy love” and “hyacinths of knowledge” are not uncommon phrases in the lexicon of a Baha’i. The brilliant colors and rich hued greens and browns that herald spring, speak to me spiritually, an artistic manifestation of His glory. I give thanks to the Lord for the opportunity to witness this beauty and acknowledge my poverty alongside His vast creation.
Jacob Millican is a member of the Baha’i Local Spiritual Assembly, a Bainbridge Water Polo Coach, and an avid gardener and hiker.