Local Bahá'ís welcome the year 161 B.E.

PERHAPS your memories of New Year's festivities are now just a blur. But for members of the Bahá'í faith around the world, the New Year is celebrated on the first day of spring, or March 21. This year, the beginning of the year 161 B.E. on the Bahá'í calendar was marked in Bratislava by two nights of classical music.
In collaboration with the Austrian Cultural Forum, the Bratislava Bahá'í community presented sibling violinists Vahid Khadem-Missagh and Martha Khadem-Missagh, both Austrian citizens and Bahá'ís.


PETER Michalica introduced the sibling duo.
photo: Omeed Jahanpour

PERHAPS your memories of New Year's festivities are now just a blur. But for members of the Bahá'í faith around the world, the New Year is celebrated on the first day of spring, or March 21. This year, the beginning of the year 161 B.E. on the Bahá'í calendar was marked in Bratislava by two nights of classical music.

In collaboration with the Austrian Cultural Forum, the Bratislava Bahá'í community presented sibling violinists Vahid Khadem-Missagh and Martha Khadem-Missagh, both Austrian citizens and Bahá'ís. More than 100 distinguished guests filled the Mozart Hall of the Austrian Embassy in Bratislava's Old Town for two New Year's concerts. Ambassadors, businesses leaders, teachers, and other members of the local community - some Bahá'í, many not - enjoyed a program that included works by Belgian Charles de Beriot, German Louis Spohr, and Austrian composer Werner Pirchner.

The youthful violinists, brother and sister, were the fourth in a line of distinguished artists to have performed at the annual Bahá'í-sponsored New Year's concerts here in Bratislava. Last year, their father, Bijan Khadem-Missagh, artistic director of the Allegro Vivo International Chamber Music Festival in Austria, performed a solo concert for the occasion.


Who are Bahá'ís?


The Bahá'í Faith is the youngest independent world religion. Its founder, Bahá'u'lláh (1817-1892), is regarded by Bahá'ís as the most recent in the line of messengers of God that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ, and Muhammad. Bahá'u'lláh taught that there is one God, that humanity is one single race, and that there is an essential unity among the world's religions. Beyond the essentials of prayer, meditation, and fasting, Bahá'ís view good deeds and service to humanity as the most important elements of spiritual training and progress.

The principles that guide Bahá'ís in their daily lives are the same high moral values that have been taught in all of the world's major religions: love, compassion, courtesy, charity, faithfulness, honesty, trustworthiness, and humility. Because unity is viewed as vital to world peace, Bahá'ís support the work of the United Nations. The Bahá'í International Community works closely with the United Nations on projects dealing with minority rights, the status of women, crime prevention, the control of narcotic drugs, the welfare of children and the family, and the movement toward disarmament.

Like Jews, Christians, and Muslims, Bahá'ís have ties to the Holy Land and make pilgrimages to Haifa and Acre in Israel, where there are shrines and teaching centres.

There are currently over five million Bahá'ís in more than 180 countries. Bahá'ís have been on Slovak territory since 1908. The Slovak Bahá'í web site is www.bahai.sk, and their main web site is www.bahai.org.

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