SUNDAY 22nd of October marked the bicentenary of the Birth of the Prophet-Founder of the world’s youngest and fastest growing religion – the Bahá’í Faith. Exactly 200 years ago Bahá´u´lláh was born, and you may be surprised to learn that there is a vibrant Bahá´í community in Marbella, but you needn’t be, as the Bahá’í Faith is the second most widespread religion in the world, after Christianity.
A large celebration was held in the Barceló Hotel in San Pedro, attended by more than 300 people, where a visual feast was prepared by the artistically-minded and highly-talented organisers who did not let the crowd down. Bahá’u’lláh was a lover of nature, calling nature the home of the soul, whereas the city was only the home of the body. His favourite flower was the rose, and the stage was majestically prepared as a gigantic rose garden, around which the cultural performances took place. Thousands of similar celebrations took place on the same day around the world, but the one in Marbella had a uniquely Spanish touch, laced with numerous flamenco dances, highly-symbolic in nature.
The Bahá´í Faiths appeal comes from how practical it seems to be to the modern world. Bahá’ís try to ´walk the spiritual path with practical feet´, and believe that the fruit of true spirituality should be joy. The element of joy and happiness was only too self-evident during the celebrations with one attendee stating: ´My God, how much art! How much love!´.
Some of the principles of the Bahá´í Faith that were put on display in an exhibition outside the hall were:
- The oneness of humanity. ´The Earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens´ said Bahá´u´lláh.
- The need for the independent investigation of truth and reality, and not blindly following one’s forefathers, but seeing with one’s own eyes.
- The harmony between science and religion, and the need to eschew superstition.
- The absolute equality between men and women, and the need to appreciate and extol the feminine virtues.
- The imperative to eliminate all forms of prejudice, whether they relate to race, gender, religion or other.
- The need for an international auxiliary language to be taught in all schools to facilitate understanding and world unity etc…
The celebrations showcased, with the help of a lot kids and youth, the activities the Bahá’ís are doing in neighbourhoods around Marbella, and seemed to show that the Bahá’í were definite believers in thinking globally, but acting locally. Although a bubbly Bahá’í community has existed in Marbella for decades, last Sunday showcased the richness of culture they bring to our wider community.