Monthly Archives: April 2013

The celebration of Ridván – and a recipe!

For the Baha’is all over the world, the Ridván Festival is the biggest one all year. Why? Because the Messenger of God for today – Bahá’u’lláh declared during those days that He was the Promised one of all ages. So there, enough reason to celebrate!

It is called the Ridván festival because these events took place at a garden called “Ridván”. This festival lasts from the 21st of April until the 2nd of May. Roses were Bahá’u’lláh’s favourite flower and this garden had an abundance of them.

“Every day,… ere the hour of dawn, the gardeners would pick the roses which lined the four avenues of the garden, and would pile them in the center of the floor of His blessed tent. So great would be the heap that when His companions gathered to drink their morning tea in His presence, they would be unable to see each other across it. All these roses Bahá’u’lláh would, with His own hands, entrust to those whom He dismissed from His presence every morning to be delivered, on His behalf, to His Arab and Persian friends in the city.”

(Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 153)

So, remembering those days and the smell and taste of the beautiful fragrance of those roses, we are making this rose water and cardamon cheesecake. This is part of a collaboration for the “walking through the garden of Ridván” series.

INGREDIENTS:

– For the crust:

1 pack of Marie cookies

100 gr melted butter

Milk

1/2 tsp cardamon

1. Powderize the cookies and mix with the melted butter.

2. Add the cardamon to the milk and then pour slowly and knead until you reach the desired consistency (if too dry add more milk but be careful not to add too much since you will have to find where to get more cookies from)

3. Once the crust is ready, spread on a pie tray and bake at 180ºC for 5-10 minutes until less wet. Remove from oven.

– For the filling:

1 can of condensed milk

1 pack of cream cheese (250 grams)

2 eggs

2 tbsp of rose water

A splash of lemon juice

1. Add all ingredients to the blender and blend until well combined.

2. Pour onto the baked crust. Burst all bubbles (if possible).

3. Bake for about 30 minutes at 180ºC. The time will vary so you have to check it and make sure it is not under cooked. To do this you have to shake the pan and if the center wiggles, it needs to bake longer.

Let cool at room temperature and then refrigerate.

Please note that cheesecake tastes better when it has set so if making for a party or function, you can bake it the night before or early in the morning to allow enough hours for it to set.

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The 19 Nineteen Day Feast. Baha’i meeting. What is it?

Many of us have heard of or attended what Baha’is call the “nineteen day feast”. While to some of us it isn’t only food for our spirit but also for our hearts when sharing with our fellow friends, it would be helpful to see what this meeting is all about as well as to read some paragraphs from the Holy Writings.

The Nineteen Day Feast consists of various parts: devotional, administrative, consultation/suggestions and social. Let’s explore each one:

1. The devotional part is where readings and prayers from the baha’i Writings written by Bahá’u’lláh, The Báb and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá are shared. Some music and other forms of adoration may be incorporated into the program as well.

2. Administrative. It is here where the Local Spiritual Assembly gives the community a run down of events from the past Baha’i month, they also provide responses to previous suggestions given at Feast, announce upcoming events and bring the treasurer’s report to share and consult.

3. Consultation is as its name suggests, a time where the whole community can discuss pending subjects and suggestions. Everyone is entitled to share their opinion and it is a space where people share their thoughts. After this, some suggestions are given for the Local Assembly to consult at their own meetings.

4. The social part is where we all gather together and mingle and when possible, share refreshments (nothing fancy, something simple is sufficient). A spirit of unity and love should fill the atmosphere not only amongst long time friends but also welcoming the new faces into our communities.

So, what do the Writings say about Feast. What is it and why is it so important? ‘Abdu’l-Bahá says:

“It is my hope that this feast will be given on one day out of every nineteen, for it bringeth you closer together; it is the very well-spring of unity and loving-kindness.”  “As to the Nineteen Day Feast, it rejoiceth mind and heart. If this feast be held in the proper fashion, the friends will, once in nineteen days, find themselves spiritually restored, and endued with a power that is not of this world.” Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 89, 91.

In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (the Most Holy Book), it says:

In the Arabic Bayan the Báb called upon His followers to gather together once every nineteen days to show hospitality and fellowship. Bahá’u’lláh here confirms this and notes the unifying role of such occasions.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi after Him have gradually unfolded the institutional significance of this injunction. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá emphasized the importance of the spiritual and devotional character of these gatherings. Shoghi Effendi, besides further elaborating the devotional and social aspects of the Feast, has developed the administrative element of such gatherings and, in systematically instituting the Feast, has provided for a period of consultation on the affairs of the Bahá’í community, including the sharing of news and messages.

…Shoghi Effendi in a letter written on his behalf further comments: Attendance at Nineteen Day Feasts is not obligatory but very important, and every believer should consider it a duty and privilege to be present on such occasions.

(Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 202)

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NOTES:

There is  a letter written by the House of Justice to the Hands of the Cause of God (Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 244) where it says “that the Feast is opened with devotional readings, that is to say prayers and meditations, from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, the Báb and the Master…” This does make us think the devotional should be the first part.
We have found this Statement of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, in Bahá’í Meetings/The Nineteen Day Feast, p. 23: “In a general letter issued to Local Spiritual Assemblies several years ago, it was pointed out that the Guardian instructs that the Nineteen Day Feast be held according to the following program: the first part, entirely spiritual in character, is devoted to readings from Bahá’í Sacred Writings; the second part consists of general consultation on the affairs of the Cause, at which time the Local Spiritual Assembly reports its activities to the community, asks for suggestions and consultation, and also delivers messages received from the Guardian and the National Assembly. The third part is the material feast and social meeting of all the friends.” (Compilations, NSA USA – Developing Distinctive Baha’i Communities).

Also, there is this Letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, dated January 23, 1985, to an individual believer, in an unpublished compilation, “The Nineteen Day Feast”: “Regarding changing the order of the Feast, it is clear from Shoghi Effendi’s instructions that the Nineteen Day Feast program should start with the spiritual part, and not with the social part, which includes refreshments, or breaking bread together. . . . However, if it is found that some sort of association among the friends or the serving of food and refreshments will be helpful, if this takes place at the outset, there is no objection to this practice, provided it is clear that it is not part of the Feast.” (Compilations, NSA USA – Developing Distinctive Baha’i Communities).

So, our understanding is that this can be done but NOT replacing the social part of the feast at the end.