Time for presents

For most people, February can be a bit of a dull month, but for Bahá’í children, it is usually something to look forward to! The last few days of the month are when Bahá’ís celebrate Ayyam-i-Ha, which often means presents for the children. In normal times it would also mean parties for the children, or indeed for the whole community. 

It is a time of charity, hospitality and the giving of gifts. So families may well take a small present to neighbours, or children may band together to do an act of service, like collecting goods for a food bank. Those who are part of children’s classes or junior youth groups might make a special effort to do something for others. In normal times, hospitality would be a big factor, as would visiting people, but of course this is not possible at present. 

Ayyam-i-Ha is not connected to a Holy Day, it doesn’t commemorate a specific event, but in the ways mentioned above, it corresponds to the festival of Christmas. However, it is spread over 4 days (5 in a leap year) and some children may receive a small present each day! 

Ayyam-i-Ha is also a time of preparation for the fasting period, which immediately follows it. The Fast doesn’t affect the younger children, it is only for those who are 15 or over. The end of the Fast then brings us to the festival of Naw Ruz (new year), which occurs at the spring equinox, and means that winter is finally over!