Tag: #festival

Celebrate Navroz

Baha'i New Year, Navroz

Festivals and holy days play a significant role in every community. The total number of sacred days adds up to 138, comprising feasts, fasts and prayers. An interesting feature of these holy days is that there are a ‘new years’ all the year around! Although 1st January has become the de facto global New Year date, yet many religious communities and faith-based traditions follow other calendar systems and celebrate New Year during different months.

The new year of the Baha’i Faith coincides with the vernal or spring equinox and is preceded by 19 days of fasting-abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset each day. This fast, the Baha’i teachings say, purifies the body and the spirit.

New delhi temple

This year, Navroz will be celebrated on March 21. The occasion will also bring down curtains on the year-long bicentenary celebrations of the birth of Baha’u’llah (1817-1892) which was commemorated around the world by his followers and their friends. The biggest gathering was at New Delhi’s Lotus Temple. Baha’u’llah calls out to humanity for good deeds, kind words, and upright conduct; service to others and collaborative action for constructing a world civilisation; and urges every member of the human race to walk the mystical path.

Navroz has its origins as a Zoroastrian observance in ancient Iran and to this day, it is celebrated as a cultural festival by Iranians of all religious backgrounds. In addition of being celebrated by Iranians and members of the Iranian diaspora, the observance of Navroz also spread to many other parts of the world; it is being celebrated as cultural holiday in India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Iraqi Kurdistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Navroz is typified with common forms of celebrations, but at its most basic, the holiday is seen as a period to firm up ties with family, friends and loved ones. Therefore, cards are sent to associates and friends and families sit in groups to have communal meals.

At the Baha’i World Centre in Haifa, Israel and in many other countries around the world, besides the community celebrations, special receptions are hosted for governmental, societal and community leaders that open a space for people of diverse backgrounds to celebrate our common heritage as a human family.

You may also like to read Nowruz- An Ancient Persian-Iranian Celebration

Navroz celebrations are held in a number of countries of Central Asia, particularly in Iran, where it is national festival. Traditionally, the celebrations last for 13 days- to mark the advent of spring and renewal of seasonal time. “Religion or dharma should unite all hearts and cause wars and disputes to vanish from the face of the earth; it should give birth to spirituality, and bring light and life to every soul’, Baha’i writings affirm. For the Baha’i is, Navroz is not just a calendar event, rather it is an opportunity to reinvigorate the powers of the spirit and re-examine matters of the heart and conscience. It begins with the idea that renewal in the world of nature is in fact a symbol of spiritual renewal and occasion for the individual to explore how to contribute to the material and spiritual welfare of others. To this end, the first of the Baha’i new year is yet one more occasion for sacred contemplation on our plight and to take resolute action for the betterment of our world.

A K Merchant is a national trustee, Lotus temple. The article on the significance of Navroz for the Baha’i community has been published in Speaking Tree

Vivid Sydney

Vivid Sydney 2016

The Sydney Vivid festival is a fantastic way to spend a Winters evening (Ideally if it’s not raining). See Sydney’s landmarks transformed into moving images and amazing colours during the festival.

From around 6pm – 11pm each night in Late May / Early June spend a few hours strolling around Circular Quay, the botanical gardens, and Martin Place, with other displays in the Rocks and places in the CBD. The displays are amazing and very entertaining. Not forgetting it’s all absolutely Free, which is a bonus these days.

I would suggest trying to avoid the weekend evenings if possible as it’s very busy, but that’s the downside of a great event.

Vivid Sydney
Vivid Sydney 2016

Vivid Sydney is an annual festival of light, music and ideas. It has become the premier winter event in the city. It is gaining a reputation for being among the world’s leading creative celebrations. This year the festival is on from 27 May – 18 June 2016.

To experience VIVID in different ways, there are events that take place every day throughout the city. The simplest way is to arrive in the city at nightfall and wander around until the installations light up your eyes. Maps are available to guide visitors through everything.

Another great way to experience it all is to book a specially created tour for the event. You can take a cruise around the Sydney Harbour and see the lights from the water, or go behind-the-scenes at the Sydney Opera House while the outside is lit up!

Vivid Sydney cruises
Vivid Festival banner
Image credit- www.captaincook.com.au

Vivid Lights Sydney Harbour Cruise– This cruise around Sydney Harbour is a 1-hour evening boat excursion. The spectacular light displays of Vivid Sydney festival is an unforgettable experience as you admire the artworks that light up iconic structures including Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay among others. Your cruise ends at Darling Harbour where you can explore more.

Darling Harbour– There are many attractions for tourists here. You can meet animals and sea life, climb aboard submarines and destroyers, see science in action, touch a giant 3D movie or a waxwork movie star, ride a carousel, catch a flying fox in the Darling Harbour Playground, roll the casino dice, pull up a deck chair on the Village Green, or escape to a blissfully tranquil garden.

  • 9D Action Cinemas– 9D Action Cinemas brings you the latest technology in a dynamic, multi-dimensional, small theatre movie entertainment, suitable for both children and adults.

Your senses will be overwhelmed with the stimulating and exciting 3D movies with surround sound, coupled with ‘active motion’ luxury seats and dramatic effects such as rain, fog, lightning, wind, snow, touch, feel and more. You will enjoy this genuine ‘action cinema’ experience like you have never had in traditional movies. For more details, follow this link.


If you want to see Sydney from the water, Fantasea is the way to do it. Do follow this link for more details.


The Maritime Museum promises a great day out for the family with enthralling exhibitions and a must-see collection of vessels. For further details, please follow this link.


Feel the sun on your face in your own secret garden in Darling Harbour’s Chinese Garden of Friendship. The Chinese Garden is a place to escape. It recreates the philosophy of a traditional Chinese garden with waterfalls, lakes, exotic plants and hidden pathways.  Chinese Garden Highlights tour.

  • Cockle Bay Wharf

It is located on the CBD side of Darling Harbour. Enjoy Sydney’s most stunning waterside location by taking advantage of the various dining options. A variety of restaurants and cafes with menus that will make your mouth water, fresh seafood, authentic Italian dishes, and hawker-style Malaysian cuisine, to modern Australian – each venue offers a truly unique experience.

Celebrate @RBGSydney‘s 200th Birthday as it illuminates from 6-11pm until 18 Jun. #VividSydney

📷speakerphone (IG) pic.twitter.com/0HpBvuX734

— Vivid Sydney (@VividSydney) June 2, 2016

Plan ahead for your #VividSydney adventure. Check changes to traffic and transport: https://t.co/vcsVVjaG8T pic.twitter.com/smrnIGMo4D

— Vivid Sydney (@VividSydney) June 3, 2016

References: Darling Harbour

Vivid Sydney

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