Baha'i Holy Days

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The Baha'i Fast:

Thanks Lunamoth!

Mostly we have a lot of fun during Ayyam-i-Ha...

Around the evening of March 2nd our fasting period begins. This is during the nineteen day Baha'i month of 'Ala which means "loftiness" of God.

The Baha'i Fast is obligatory for Baha'is between fifteen and seventy years of age and involves abstaining from food and drink between sunrise and sunset.

There are exceptions made if you are ill, pregnant, nursing or for women during their courses, also while travelling long distances fasting is not obligatory.

You do not need to "make up" for the days of fasting you've missed either, say by fasting later.

Essentially the Fast was ordained for us to abstain from food and drink so we can exercise discipline and rely on more spiritual resources:


". . . Thou hast bidden all men to observe the fast, that through it they may purify their souls and rid themselves of all attachment to any one but Thee . . ."


"This material fast is an outer token of the spiritual fast; it is a symbol of self-restraint, the withholding of oneself from all appetites of the self, taking on the characteristics of the spirit, being carried away by the breathings of heaven and catching fire from the love of God."

Fasting is a common practise in most religious traditions but may vary of course in details.

- Art
Naw-Ruz Baha'i New Year on March 21st:

From an article by John Walbridge:

The Bábi and Bahá'í Naw-Ruz

In the Badi` calendar of the Báb, Naw-Ruz is the day of Bahá of the month of Bahá, a day called by the Báb `the Day of God' (yawmu'llah). It was also the `Day of the Point' (yawm-i-nuqtih) -- i.e. the day of the Báb. Finally, it was a day associated with Him Whom God shall make manifest, the Promised One of the Báb. The remaining eighteen days of the month were associated with the eighteen Letters of the Living, an indication that the Báb envisioned the Naw-Ruz festivities encompassing the nineteen days of the month of Bahá, just as the traditional Iranian Naw-Ruz festivities last thirteen days. During Naw-Ruz the Báb permitted the use of musical instruments and other luxuries prohibited at other times. During the night of Naw-Ruz each believer was to recite 361 times the verse `God beareth witness that there is no God but Him, the Ineffable, the Self-Subsistent'; and during the day, `God beareth witness that there is no God but Him, the Precious, the Beloved'. Fasting was prohibited during the whole month of Bahá.

During the six years of His mission, the Báb and His followers observed Naw-Ruz, although it is difficult to say how much this represents a distinctively Báb- holy day.

Bahá'u'lláh adopted the Báb- holy day of Naw-Ruz as the feast day following the fast and stressed that it is associated with the Most Great Name, bearing as it does Bahá'u'lláh's own name. `Abdu'l-Bahá explained the significance of Naw-Ruz in terms of the symbolism of the new life of spring.

Bahá'u'lláh defines Naw-Ruz as the Bahá'í day on which the vernal equinox occurs. Thus, even if the equinox should occur just before sunset, that day -- which in the Bahá'í calendar began at the moment of sunset on the previous day -- is Naw-Ruz. At present, however, Naw-Ruz is fixed as 21 March for Bahá'ís in all countries outside the Middle East, regardless of exactly when the equinox occurs.

Naw-Ruz is one of the nine Bahá'í holy days on which work is to be suspended. It is generally observed with a meeting for prayer and celebration -- often combined with a dinner since the sunset on which Naw-Ruz begins ends the last day of the Bahá'í fast. As with all Bahá'í holy days, there are few fixed rules for observing Naw-Ruz, although Iranian Bahá'ís often follow Iranian traditions. Many Bahá'ís use Naw-Ruz as a day of gift-giving. Bahá'ís do not usually observe Naw-Ruz for longer than one day.

Since Naw-Ruz is the first day of a Bahá'í month, it is also the day of a nineteen day feast. It is not permitted to combine this feast with the observance of the holy day.

Last modified: Sun Jul 11 20:00:49 2004

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The Twelve Days of Ridvan (sounds like "Rizwan")

First day of Ridvan begins on April 20th at sunset

Ninth day of Ridvan is on April 29th

Twelfth Day of Ridvan ends at sunset May 2nd.

"This is a reference to the arrival of Baha'u'llah and His companions in the Najibiyyih Garden outside the city of Baghdad, subsequently referred to by the Baha'is as the Garden of Ridvan. This event, which took place thirty-one days after Naw-Ruz, in April 1863, signalized the commencement of the period during which Baha'u'llah declared His Mission to His companions. In a Tablet, He refers to His Declaration as "the Day of supreme felicity" and He describes the Garden of Ridvan as "the Spot from which He shed upon the whole of creation the splendours of His Name, the All-Merciful". Baha'u'llah spent twelve days in this Garden prior to departing for Istanbul, the place to which He had been banished.

The Declaration of Baha'u'llah is celebrated annually by the twelve-day Ridvan Festival, described by Shoghi Effendi as "the holiest and most significant of all Baha'i festivals"

- From Notes from the Kitab-i-Aqdas Sentence 181

The First, Ninth and Twelfth days were significant because the tide of the Tigris River would permit easier access to the Garden and hence to Baha'u' first a small circle was permitted and later larger friends were permitted access and during these days Baha'u'llah declared His Mission.


The first day of Ridvan also is the occasion for local Baha'i elections. Baha'is throughout the world elect the members of their Local Spiritual Assembly. Every jurisdiction that has at least nine adult voting members, elects the Assembly which handles the administrative affairs of the Faith on the local level.

In the United States the National Baha'i Convention is also held on the 22nd through 24th of April in Wilmette, Illinois, this is where delegates from all the Districts in the United States elect a National Spiritual Assembly also of nine members.

Wilmette, Illinois is the site of the Baha'i House of Worship and the National Baha'i Offices.

No electioneering or campaigning is permitted and the voting is done in an attitude of prayer by secret ballot.
Local elections being held through Baha'i world:

The first day of Ridvan begins on April 20th at sunset these evening.

Throughout the Baha'i world this evening, Baha'is are gathering to elect by secret balot and in prayer nine of their number to serve on the Local Spiritual Assembly. No electioneering or campaigning is permitted. Partisanship and polarity in this system really have no place.

Once elected the Spiritual Assembly meets to carry out the administrative responsibilities of the local Baha'i community.

What are some of these dutues? They can range from dispersing funds as needed or coordinating Baha'i Feasts and Holy Days. Seeing that Baha'i marriages are properly conducted or addressing the social needs of the Baha'is and others in the community.

In the United States the National Baha'i Convention is also held on the 22nd through 24th of April in Wilmette, Illinois, this is where delegates from all the Districts in the United States elect a National Spiritual Assembly also of nine members.

Unfortunately, Baha'is in some countries are prohibited from meeting together and performing this essentrial administrative and spiritual task. Baha'is obey laws and where the Faith is outlawed do not have these admistrative elections... The Assemblies are nonetheless essential to the Baha'i community as we have no priests or professional clergy.

A beautiful sight often depends on where you stand. A great scene from a cliff overlooking an ocean, or a beach facing the dawning sun - these have no inherent quality different from any other place at any other time. And yet we can be awe-struck by the moment, and the alignment of things that must be as they are here and now even as around the planet every other thing continues whether we know it or not.

And the same holds of concepts and understandings; every mind has all it's ideas and beliefs, yet some combinations make the viewer still in awe, albeit every other mind is busy with it's own thoughts at the same time.

Here's one to share - April 20's is the time of Ridvan, and of the Lyriad meteor shower, identified in April 1861 with Comet Thatcher which was coming through in it's 451 year orbit. And in 1861 or so Baha'u'llah was writing "Gems of the Mysteries", and just a couple years later we had Ridvan itself in 1863. What will the world be like in 2312 when the comet returns?!

And the meteor shower is from the direction of Vega - the brightest star visible in the spring/summer from the northern hemisphere. And the direction of Vega is also the direction the whole solar system is moving in as it proceeds around the Milky Way galaxy - and spiritually, Ridvan is the direction mankind goes to for the Divine Springtime!
20,000 Elections of Baha'i Assemblies in the world:

Ridwan allows a community to take stock of itself and given an accounting of the past year's events. It also allows for planning and adapting for the year ahead...

Those who are elected to the Local Assembly adapt their lives to serving on that body which serves the community.

All Bahá'í elections take place by secret ballot, with no nominations or electioneering. There are currently over 20,000 such Assemblies throughout the world

(Mouhebat Sobhani, Bahá'í: Teachings for the New World Order, (New York: Waldorf, 1992) 50.

The electors " must prayerfully and devotedly and after meditation and reflection elect faithful, sincere, experienced, capable and competent souls who are worthy of membership".

(In a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, 1 July 1943 to the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran ö translated from the Persian)

One's vote should be kept confidential. It is not permissible to make any reference whatsoever to individual names. The friends must avoid the evil methods and detestable practices of the politicians. They must turn completely to God, and with a purity of motive, a freedom of spirit and a sanctity of heart, participate in the elections; otherwise the outcome will be chaos and confusion, serious difficulties will ensue, mischief will abound and the confirmation of God will be cut off.

(In a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, 16 January 1923 to the Central Spiritual Assembly of Iran ö translated from the Persian)

"I earnestly appeal to every one of you " to make " yet another effort, this time more spontaneous and selfless than before, and endeavour to approach your task " with that purity of spirit that can alone obtain our Beloved's most cherished desire. Let us recall His explicit and often repeated assurances that every Assembly elected in that rarefied atmosphere of selflessness and detachment is in truth appointed of God".

(In a letter written by Shoghi Effendi, 23 February 1924 to the Bahá'ís in North America, published in "Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages 1922-1932" (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1980), p. 65)
Declaration of the Bab May 23rd

After Ridwan is the Declaration of the Bab on May 23 which commemorates the Bab's Declaration in Shiraz, Iran in 1844!

The Baha'i Calendar also begins in 1844 CE or 1260 AH.

This is the interior of the House where the Bab proclaimed His Mission. The House was destroyed by Moslem extemists during the Islamic Revolution.

Anniversary of the Ascension of Baha'u'llah

Baha'is will be observing the anniversary of the Ascension of Baha'u'llah this coming Sunday May 29th at 3:00 AM.

Usually Baha'is gather at private homes or Baha'i Centers for this observance and the day is a Holy Day on which work or school is suspended.


"Thus simply and serenely did Baha'u'llah pass the evening of His life on earth until, after an attack of fever, He passed away on the 29th of May, 1892, at the age of seventy-five. Among the last Tablets He revealed was His Will and Testament, which He wrote with His own hand and duly signed and sealed. Nine days after His death the seals were broken by His eldest son, in the presence of members of the family and a few friends, and the contents of the short but remarkable document were made known. By this will Abdu'l-Baha was constituted His father's representative and the expounder of His teachings, and the family and relatives of Baha'u'llah and all believers were instructed to turn to Him and obey Him. By this arrangement sectarianism and division were provided against and the unity of the Cause assured."

"In addition to the seven Holy Days ordained in these passages of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the anniversary of the Martyrdom of the Bab was also commemorated as a Holy Day in the lifetime of Baha'u'llah and, as a corollary to this, Abdu'l-Baha added the observance of the Ascension of Baha'u'llah, making nine Holy Days in all. Two other anniversaries which are observed, but on which work is not suspended, are the Day of the Covenant and the anniversary of the Passing of Abdu'l-Baha. See the section on the Baha'i calendar in The Baha'i World, volume XVIII."

From Notes on the Kitab-i-Aqdas
Anniversary of the Martyrdom of the Bab, July 9th


Above is an actual photograph of the site where the Bab and his beloved disciple were martyred... The "X" on the pillar is where their bodies were suspended by ropes and fired upon by a battalion of riflemen...

The account is given in a book called the "Dawnbreakers" translated by Shoghi Effendi:

Sam Khan ordered his men to drive a nail into the pillar that lay between the door of the room that Siyyid Husayn occupied and the entrance to the adjoining one, and to make fast two ropes to that nail, from which the Bab and His companion were to be separately suspended.(1) Mirza Muhammad-'Ali begged Sam Khan to be placed in such a manner that his own body would shield that of the Bab.(2) He was eventually suspended in such a position that his head reposed on the breast of his Master. As soon as they were fastened, a regiment of soldiers ranged itself in three files, each of two hundred and fifty men, each of which was ordered to open fire in its turn until the whole detachment had discharged the volleys of its bullets.(3) The smoke of the firing of the seven hundred and fifty rifles was such as to turn the light of the noonday sun into darkness. There had crowded onto
the roof of the barracks, as well as the tops of the adjoining houses, about ten thousand people, all of whom were witnesses to that sad and moving scene.
As soon as the cloud of smoke had cleared away, an astounded multitude were looking upon a scene which their eyes could scarcely believe. There, standing before them alive and unhurt, was the companion of the Bab, whilst He Himself had vanished uninjured from their sight. Though the cords with which they were suspended had been rent in pieces by the bullets, yet their bodies had miraculously escaped the volleys.(1) Even the tunic which Mirza Muhammad-'Ali was wearing had, despite the thickness of the smoke, remained unsullied. "The Siyyid-i-Bab has gone from our sight!" rang out the voices of the bewildered multitude. They set out in a frenzied search for Him, and found Him, eventually, seated in the same room which He had occupied the night before, engaged in completing His interrupted conversation, with Siyyid Husayn. An expression of unruffled calm was upon His face. His body had emerged unscathed from the shower of bullets which the regiment had directed against Him. "I have finished My conversation with Siyyid Husayn," the Bab told the farrash-bashi. "Now you may proceed to fulfil your intention."


Baha'is around the world gather for prayers about noon on July the ninth to observe this anniversary. Work and school attendance are suspended.
I just notived a calendar section to the board. Perhaps religions could contribute their religious holy days... with some kind of link to an explanation and some stories or something.....
Birth of the Bab October 20th...

Baha'is around the world will soon be celebrating the anniversary of the Birth of the Bab. This day is a Holy Day on which work and school are suspended from sunset October 19th to sunset October 20th.

From "Baha'u'llah and the New Era":

"Mirza Ali Muhammad, Who afterwards assumed the title of Bab (i.e. Gate), was born at Shiraz, in the south of Persia, on the 20th of October 1819 A.D.

He was a Siyyid, that is, a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. His father, a well-known merchant, died soon after His birth, and He was then placed under the care of a maternal uncle, a merchant of Shiraz, who brought Him up. In childhood He learned to read, and received the elementary education customary for children."

From an episode from the early life of the Bab told by Shaykh 'Abid:

"One day," he [Shaykh 'Abid] related, "I asked the Báb to recite the opening words of the Qur'án: 'Bismi'lláhi'r-Rahmáni'r-Rahim.' He hesitated, pleading that unless He were told what these words signified, He would in no wise attempt to pronounce them. I pretended not to know their meaning. 'I know what these words signify,' observed my pupil; 'by your leave, I will explain them.' He spoke with such knowledge and fluency that I was struck with amazement. He expounded the meaning of 'Alláh,' of 'Rahmán,' and 'Rahim,' in terms such as I had neither read nor heard. The sweetness of His utterance still lingers in my memory. I felt impelled to take Him back to His uncle and to deliver into his hands the Trust he had committed to my care. I determined to tell him how unworthy I felt to teach so remarkable a child. I found His uncle alone in his office. 'I have brought Him back to you,' I said, 'and commit Him to your vigilant protection. He is not to be treated as a mere child, for in Him I can already discern evidences of that mysterious power which the Revelation of the Sáhibu'z-Zamán [the Lord of the Age, one of the titles of the promised Qá'im] alone can reveal. It is incumbent upon you to surround Him with your most loving care. Keep Him in your house, for He, verily, stands in no need of teachers such as I.' Hájí Mírzá Siyyid Ali [11] sternly rebuked the Báb. 'Have You forgotten my instructions?' he said. 'Have I not already admonished You to follow the example of Your fellow-pupils, to observe silence, and to listen attentively to every word spoken by Your teacher?' Having obtained His promise to abide faithfully by his instructions, he bade the Báb return to His school. The soul of that child could not, however, be restrained by the stern admonitions of His uncle. No discipline could repress the flow of His intuitive knowledge. Day after day He continued to manifest such remarkable evidences of superhuman wisdom as I am powerless to recount." At last His uncle was induced to take Him away from the school of Shaykh 'Abid, and to associate Him with himself in his own profession.


Shoghi Effendi, The Dawn-Breakers, pp. 75-76.
Birth of Baha'u'llah November 12th

Work and school are suspended for Baha'is on November 12th as Baha'is throughout the world observe a Holy Day celebrating the birth of Baha'u'llah, the Founder of the Baha'i Faith. Most often Baha'is gather in their homes or an occasional Baha'i Center for prayers and some refreshments along with informal socializing.

Baha'u'llah was born Mirza Husayn Aliy-i-Nuri at dawn on 12 November 1817 in Tehran, Persia. He was of royal Persian blood and believed to be a descendent of Yazdigird III the last Sassanian monarch.

His father Mirza Abbas also known as Mirza Buzurg who was a prominent minister of the province of Nur and his wife was Khadijih Khanum.

"Magnified be Thy name, O Lord my God! I know not what the water is with which Thou hast created me, or what the fire Thou hast kindled within me, or the clay wherewith Thou hast kneaded me. The restlessness of every sea hath been stilled, but not the restlessness of this Ocean which moveth at the bidding of the winds of Thy will. The flame of every fire hath been extinguished except the Flame which the hands of Thine omnipotence have kindled, and whose radiance Thou hast, by the power of Thy name, shed abroad before all that are in Thy heaven and all that are on Thy earth. As the tribulations deepen, it waxeth hotter and hotter.

Behold, then, O my God, how Thy Light hath been compassed with the onrushing winds of Thy decree, how the tempests that blow and beat upon it from every side have added to its brightness and increased its splendor. For all this let Thee be praised.

I implore Thee, by Thy Most Great Name, and Thy most ancient sovereignty, to look upon Thy loved ones whose hearts have been sorely shaken by reason of the troubles that have touched Him Who is the Manifestation of Thine own Self. Powerful art Thou to do what pleaseth Thee. Thou art, verily, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise."

- Bahá'u'lláh
Re: Birth of Baha'u'llah November 12th

Well, I think this thread has been running well over a year. :)

Art, do you have a brief summary of the holidays and dates of Baha'i holidays in any given year, to close this thread with?
Re: Birth of Baha'u'llah November 12th

Not covered already in an 18-month old thread? Ah, some people are slacking. ;)

More seriously, though, I think it'll be a good idea to have general lists of Holy Days for various religions posted up on the main part of the site.

A thread like this may serve to provide useful background info to such a list for learning more about Baha'i calendar events, but I'd prefer to see any remaining holidays covered, and then a Q&A where members may have questions relating to the calendar and holidays. May even be better addressing those on a new thread, as this one is getting a bit long for general reference.

March 21 Naw-Ruz (Baha'i New Year)
April 21-May 2 The Festival of Ridvan (Declaration of Baha'u'llah)
The first, ninth, and twelfth days are holy days.
May 23 The Declaration of the Bab
May 29 The Ascension (death) of Baha'u'llah
July 9 The Martyrdom of the Bab
October 20 The Birth of the Bab
November 12 The Birth of Baha'u'llah
November 26 The Day of the Covenant
November 28 The Ascension (death) of 'Abdu'l-Baha

The Baha'i day begins and ends at sunset, so these days are often celebrated on the evening before the date listed.

Baha'is suspend work on all holy days except the last two.

There are other regular events, including Nineteen-day Feasts (typically held every 19 days at the beginning of each Baha'i month) and Ayyam-i-Ha, the Intercalary Days, four or five days of celebrating and partying held February 26-March 2 (these days make the calendar year come out even to fit the solar year).
Thanks for the info, Bruce - if I may ask, how does the Baha'i calendar differ from the Gregorian one? I gather it is based on the lunar calendar, much as the Islamic calendar? If so, is it very similar to the Muslim calendar in many regards? I think a list of months and when they fall in relation to the Gregorian one would be very helpful and much appreciated. :)
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