November 1901: The first commemoration of a Baha’i Holy Day in North America

On 26 November 1901 the House and the Women's Assembly of Teaching [of Chicago] sponsored a celebration of 'the Master's Day'. Today this is known as the Day of the Covenant. It was the first definite commemoration in the United States of a Baha’i Holy Day. 'Abdu'l-Baha had asked the Baha'is to hold a commemoration of the Baha'i covenant rather than a celebration of His birthday because He had been born on the same day that the Báb had declared His mission and that day should be devoted to the Báb's anniversary. On 26 November the Chicago House of Justice sent telegrams of greeting to other Baha'i communities but since it had not informed them of the Holy Day ahead of time, no observances are known to have occurred elsewhere. Chicago's festivities represented a harmonious blend of Baha'i and Protestant practices. In the Minutes of the Chicago House of Justice, dated 1 December 1901 we read:

November 1817: The Birth of Baha'u'llah

Mirza Husayn Ali, Who afterwards assumed the title of Bahá'u'lláh (i.e. Glory of God), was the eldest son of Mirza Abbas of Nur, a Vazir or Minister of State. His family was wealthy and distinguished, many of its members having occupied important positions in the Government and in the Civil and Military Services of Persia. He was born in Tihran (Teheran), the capital city of Persia, between dawn and sunrise on the 12th of November, 1817 (2nd of Muharram, 1233 A.H.) He never attended school or college, and what little teaching He received was given at home. Nevertheless, even as a child He showed wonderful wisdom and knowledge. While He was still a youth His father died, leaving Him responsible for the care of His younger brothers and sisters, and for the management of the extensive family estates.

On one occasion 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh, related to the writer the following particulars about His Father's early days:  --

November 1957: The passing of Shoghi Effendi

Before the time came to return to Haifa in November Shoghi Effendi went to London to purchase a few more things for the furnishing of the now completed Archives building and in anticipation of transferring after his arrival all the precious historical materials he had exhibited and stored in the six rooms in which they had previously been housed. While we were there the great epidemic of Asiatic influenza was sweeping Europe and we both fell ill with it. We had an excellent physician, whom the Guardian liked and trusted, and the attack was not a particularly severe one, though he did have quite a high fever for a few days. The doctor insisted that Shoghi Effendi should not arrange to leave London until he had been without any abnormal temperature for a week and to this he consented. In spite of his fever he read a great deal in bed and attended to his mail and cables. His illness at no time incapacitated him in any way, though it left him weak and with almost no appetite.

November 1866: An extraordinary event took place in the sky

The spectacular shower of meteors in the early hours of the morning of 14 November 1866 was observed all over Europe. It was an extraordinary event exciting comment from professional astronomers and laymen alike. The following sample account is from The Times Saturday, 17 November 1866:

The Rev. Robert Main, the Radcliffe Observer at Oxford, gives the following account of the meteorological phenomenon of Tuesday night last:  --

'...This great display began about 13h. (or 1 o'clock in the morning), and reached its maximum at about 13h.24m., after which time it gradually began to slacken. The watch, however, was kept up till 18h., though after 15h., there were not many meteors seen. In all there were observed not fewer than 3,000 during the night, of which about 2,000 fell between 13h. and 14h., or between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. As to the general appearance of the meteors, it was noticed that the majority of them were of a whitish or yellowish colour. Some, however, were reddish or orange-coloured, and one meteor was noticed to be bluish. The brightest left generally a train behind them, which was to be seen for a few seconds after the meteor disappeared.' (Adapted from ‘The Revelation of Baha’u’llah', by Adib Taherzadeh, vol. 2, p. 422)