5 Things Anyone Can Do to Revive Community Spirits at Feast

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For anyone who has attended Baha’i Feasts, you may have noticed that sometimes they feel like they are, well, lacking. This is not to place blame on anyone. These meeting often take place in the evenings, after a long day of work, school, or other activities and sometimes it can be hard to arrive at Feast in the mood for collective spiritual bliss. And yet this is exactly its intention.

‘Abdu’l-Baha states:

“As to the Nineteen Day Feast, it rejoiceth mind and heart. If this feast be held in the proper fashion, the friends will, once in nineteen days, find themselves spiritually restored, and endued with a power that is not of this world.” (Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, p. 91)

A spirited Baha'i Feast in a Chicago neighborhood

A spirited Baha’i Feast in a Chicago neighborhood / Photo courtesy of Bayan Sabouri

So what can we do to help make the potential spiritual power of Feast a reality? Preparing ahead of time can go a long way toward improving Feast.

By prep ahead I don’t mean pick a couple of prayers for people to read and then you’re done. Instead think about what would make people feel welcome, even excited, to attend. What would make you want to attend Feast even if you weren’t in the mood? And, most importantly, what would make you want to stay?

Here are some ideas to try:

Baha'i Feast Invitations

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1. Invitations. Make invitations (paper or electronic) and mail them out to the community ahead of time. Who doesn’t like getting a personal letter in the mail? This makes people feel loved and welcomed into the community.

2. Music. Have fun and inspiring music playing in the background while people arrive. It can be whatever music you like: gospel, pop, jazz, classical, hip-hop. Music helps to create a comfortable and relaxed setting. Just make sure you choose songs with appropriate language.

3. Greetings. Greet everyone warmly as they arrive. Stand by the door and say hello, give a hug or kiss on the cheek and ask people how their day was. Make everyone feel as though they are friends coming to share a great evening together.

4. Baking. Have something sweet baking in the oven as people arrive so a delicious aroma fills the house. There’s nothing better than the smell of cookies baking in the oven. It creates a warm, cozy, homey feeling as everyone arrives and settles down, and it gives everyone something to look forward to during the social portion—homemade goodies!

5. Media. Put together a short slideshow of people and activities from the local community. It’s always nice to see familiar faces on a screen and lets everyone know what’s been happening in the community.

This list is not meant to be exhaustive—just a few ideas to help get your creative juices flowing. There are many ways to make Feast feel more personal and inviting, it’s only a matter of putting a little time and effort into it. The more we come together and try new ideas, the more we will all be able to feel the true spirit of Feast.

What do you do to lift spirits at Feast?

Ariana is pursuing a master’s degree in International and Multicultural Education at the University of San Francisco. She previously served as an editor at Baha’i Publishing Trust.