Our next guest writer is author and poet Anna Quon. Now a practicing Baha’i, she describes some of her Faith’s holy days observed this time of year, and how she continues to be “spellbound” by Christmas.
Magic, Holy Days
|Photo by Creative Badger Studio|
By Anna Quon
As a child growing up in a culturally-casual, agnostic family, I was still caught up in the magic of Christmas. The actual holiday usually deteriorated into a tired, sugar-fueled, stress-encrusted bicker fest and ended with disappointment and headaches, but the period of anticipation, lasting a month or more sparkled and shone. I loved staring into the Christmas tree, where glass balls hung like planets against a galaxy of coloured lights, the evergreen scent to be forever associated in my mind with star fire. I religiously studied the Sears Christmas Wish Book, and prayed silently to the empty sky for snow.
Now that I am in the middle of my life, I thank my parents for their tolerant approach to a Christian holiday for which there was no real good reason for them to partake. They opened a space in our lives for magic if not for Magi, Santa if not Christ. And now that I am a practising Baha’i, I am still spellbound by the holiday that is really about the power of love and the spirit of giving, regardless of how we screw it up.
Baha’is have their own holy days, 11 in all, including three in the month of November. The birth of Baha’u’llah, the prophet founder of the Baha’i faith, is commemorated with reverence every November 12, followed by the day of the Covenant on November 26, which reminds us of Baha’u’llah’s appointment of his son, ‘Abdu’l-Baha’ , as the one His followers should turn to after His passing. The Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’, observed on November 28, marks the passing of that perfect exemplar of his Father’s teachings.
Baha’is also give gifts and celebrate with family, friends, and charitable donations on the days of Ayyám-i-Há—but not until the end of February, just before the lunar new year and the beginning of the Baha’i fast. Some Baha’i families, in a nod to the dominant culture, celebrate both Christmas and days special to Baha’is. Lucky the children who are twice gifted, by the Giver of Gifts Himself.
Anna Quon is a novelist, poet, and writing workshop facilitator, as well as a digital story coordinator at the Antigonish County Adult Literacy Association. Her first novel Migration Songs (Invisible Publishing) was shortlisted for the Dartmouth Book Award. Her second novel, Low (Invisible Publishing), was released June 2013 and may be purchased online or in person at Chapters and independent bookstores/galleries. Also this year, Fierce Press published her e-short (Fierce Short) Never Grow Up, and a percentage of the proceeds go to Youth Against Stigma (IWK Foundation). To learn more about Quon, visit: http://annaquon.wordpress.com/