United States of America

Stories of Celebrations

Celebrations marking the bicentenary swept across the United States in October 2017, ranging from a choral and orchestral concert at the Bahá’í House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois, to small gatherings in homes and neighbourhood community centres. Bahá’u’lláh's teachings — calling humanity to unity and peace — were highlighted and celebrated through artistic expressions such as painting, poetry, and song. America's diverse peoples were unified in celebration of the historic occasion, expressing the beauty of the cultural and ethnic heritage of that land.

Numerous societal leaders marked the bicentenary with public messages addressed to the Bahá’í community. "We are heartened by your global community's rededication to peace, racial justice, the equality of women and men, and the essential unity of all religions," wrote Former President Jimmy Carter in his letter to the American Bahá’í Community.

In an address at the United States Senate, Lamar Alexander, senior United States Senator from Tennessee, stated that "Wherever they live, Bahá’ís champion the principles that Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed. They strive to build a better world by being good citizens, serving their communities, and working side by side with others to promote the common good."

Mural highlights Bahá’u’lláh's teachings on unity

Artists created a mural in a café in New Jersey, highlighting an often-quoted passage from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh: "So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth."

Choral and Orchestral Concert at the Bahá’í House of Worship

The Bahá’í House of Worship choir partnered with the local Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra for the Light to the World Concert, held in honour of the 200th anniversary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh.

A traditional music and hoop dance at a celebration that marked the bicentenary as well as Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Dallas, Texas, neighborhood celebration

A celebration held at a school in the Vickery Meadows neighborhood of Dallas included traditional Mexican dance and presentations on the oneness of humankind and of religion. The participants also painted a group mural.

"Beloved," a poem written by a Bahá’í from the United States

I have drunk in your days, Beloved, Each trek, each room, each rose, I have felt your ceaseless strife, Every trial of your life.

    I think I was ever with You
    As You are ever with me.

For you pitched tents at Badasht, At Baghdad your tablets washed, Carried your bowl at Sar-Galú, Picked your roses at Ridván too.

At Tákúr trailed you into the cypress, Later rowed you across the Tigris, Shadowed you through the alleys of Edirne, Even crept into the great Selimiyeh.

    I think I was ever with You
    As You are ever with me.

Carried water with Hassan, And gold and tablets with Salman, With Mullá Husayn swung swords, With Áqá Ján scribbled words.

Stirred soup with Aschji, And knelt with Badí, Swept with my turban before you, Rent my veil with Táhirih too.

    I think I was ever with You
    As You are ever with me.

Disembarked behind you at Haifa, Carried the Leaves ashore at 'Akká, In your company entered the Sea Gate, And in the same strolled out the Land Gate

Walked by your howdah, Through all Anatolia, Once accompanied Khánum to town, Even parted the curtain for Browne.

    I think I was ever with You
    As You are ever with me.

Wept through the bastinado’s bite, But also at the boy and the skylight, At the darkness of the cave, And the ever-lapping wave.

Wept again at the chain’s scar, At the tremor of the poison jar, At the loneliness, at the guile, At the endless, endless exile.

    One tribulation at a time,

    I think I was ever with You
    As You are ever with me.

Dance celebration in New York City

The borough of the Bronx in New York City is home to vibrant neighbourhoods and to the hip hop movement, which began there in the 1970s. Hip hop, a mix of rhythmic beats and rap lyrics, gave artistic expression to people who may not otherwise have had a voice. The music, so integral to this part of the city, has no doubt been part of many festivities. To mark the historic bicentenary, the Bahá’í community of the Bronx and the Bronx Museum of Arts organised a celebration. People of all ages and backgrounds attended. Guests also had the opportunity to view paintings inspired by the life of Bahá’u’lláh.

A service project organised in Gwinnett County, Georgia, in honour of the bicentenary of the Birth of Baha'u'llah

The making of the painting, “Bicentenary”

An excerpt from a film on the making of an encaustic painting, titled “Bicentenary”

Arts from around the country