Jordan is home to a small Baha’i community of approximately 1,000 people. After meeting a lovely Baha’i man in London at the House of Commons, I have learned a little more about the faith and he and his friends have always been exceptionally kind, welcoming, and interesting. It was he who introduced me to his niece here in Amman, a member of the Baha’i community and wonderfully well-traveled woman.
On Saturday, she invited me to join her and her family and neighbours for the Festival of Ayyam-i-Ha.
The Baha’i calendar consists of 19 months of 19 days, with a period of intercalary days added between the last two months of the calendar. These intercalary days are when Ayyam-i-Ha are celebrated.
All 19 months are named after the attributes of God, and “Ha” is used as a symbol of the essence of God in Baha’i texts. It also has a numerical value of 5 in Arabic, which is the maximum number of days the festival can last.
During Ayyam-i-Ha, the Baha’i celebrate the oneness of God by focusing on love, fellowship and unity. As such, I was invited to join my friend and her circle to meet and celebrate with them.
On arrival, I introduced myself to each individual, one at a time. We then sat in a circle and went around, providing a brief introduction of ourselves. Everything was conducted in Arabic except my own part; what I didn’t understand was translated by my friend’s son. One of the ladies leading the evening spoke about some charity work that was done by the community, and a prayer was read.
We were then encouraged to eat from table laden with delicious foods of all kinds in a casual and friendly atmosphere. Supper was followed by games and dessert. An evening full of laughter and friendliness. I cannot think of a better way to celebrate my first Ayyam-i-Ha or to be introduced to the Baha’i community in Jordan!