Community Life

Baha’i community life is structured within the framework of the Baha’i calendar, which consists of 19 months of 19 days named after the attributes of God (for example Sovereignty, Glory). Each 19-day month has a Feast at the beginning of the month where Baha’is gather in homes, centers and community halls to say prayers, read the Sacred Writings, participate in devotional music, consult about the affairs of the community and socialize. Because the Baha’i day lasts from sunset to sunset, the Nineteen Day Feast is generally held in the evening on the day before the first day of the Baha’i month according to the Gregorian calendar.
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This part of the calendar consists of 361 days. The remaining four days are called ‘Ayyam’i’Ha or Intercalary Days, between the 18th and 19th months of the year, from February 26-March 1. During this time Baha’is engage in charitable acts, give gifts, offer hospitality and prepare for the month of fasting that follows from the 2nd to the 21st of March.

Month of Fasting

The last month in the Baha’i calendar, March 2-20, is dedicated to the Baha’i Fast. During this time, Baha’is between 15 and 70 years of age do not eat or drink for 19 days from sunrise to sunset and set aside time for prayer and meditation. Exemptions from the Fast occur for illness, pregnancy, nursing mothers, extended travel and arduous physical labor.
After the Fast, the Baha’i New Year coincides with the March equinox (March 21). The Baha’i Era commenced with the year of the Bab’s declaration (1844 A.D.).

In addition to the Feasts, Intercalary days and month of fasting there are nine Holy Days that commemorate or celebrate important events in the history of the Bahai Faith.

The Holy Days are:
Naw-Rúz (March 21)
The Baha’i New Year’s Day coincides with the spring equinox. Naw-Ruz is an ancient Persian festival celebrating the "new day" and for Baha'is it marks the end of the annual 19-Day Fast and is one of the nine holy days of the year when work is suspended.
Festival of Ridvan (April 21-May 2)
The annual Baha’i festival commemorates the 12 days (April 21-May 2, 1863) when Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i Faith, resided in a garden called Ridvan (Paradise) in Baghdad, Iraq. At this time He publicly proclaimed His mission as God’s messenger for this age. The first (April 21), ninth (April 29) and twelfth (May 2) days are celebrated as holy days when work is suspended.
Declaration of the Bab (May 23)
The Baha’i commemorates May 23, 1844, when the Bab, the herald of the Baha’i Faith, announced in Shiraz, Persia (now Iran), that he was the herald of a new messenger of God. It is one of the nine holy days of the year when work is suspended.
Ascension of Baha’u’llah (May 29)
Baha’is observe the anniversary of the death in exile of Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i Faith, on May 29, 1892, outside Akko (also known as Akka or Acre), in what is now northern Israel. It is one of the nine holy days of the year where work is suspended.
Martyrdom of the Bab (July 9)
The holy day commemorates the anniversary of the execution of the Bab (Siyyid ‘Ali-Muhammad), the herald of the Baha’i Faith, by a firing squad on July 9, 1850, in Tabriz, Persia (now Iran). It is one of the nine holy days of the year when work is suspended.
Birth of the Bab (Oct. 20)
The day is an observance of the anniversary of the birth on Oct. 20, 1819, in Shiraz, Persia (now Iran), of Siyyid ‘Ali-Muhammad, who later took the title of “the Bab,” meaning “the Gate.” The Bab was the herald of the Baha’i Faith. The day is one of the nine holy days of the year when work is suspended.
Birth of Baha’u’llah (Nov. 12)
Baha’is observe the anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah (born Mirza Husayn-‘Ali) on Nov. 12, 1817, in Tehran, Persia (now Iran). Baha’u’llah, which means the “Glory of God,” is the founder of the Baha’i Faith. It is one of the nine holy days of the year when work is suspended.
Day of the Covenant (Nov. 26)
The festival commemorates Baha’u’llah’s appointment of his eldest son, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, as the Center of His Covenant.
Ascension of 'Abdu'l-Baha (Nov. 28)
Baha’is observe the anniversary of the death of 'Abdu'l-Baha, son of Baha'u'llah and His appointed succesor, on Nov 28, 1921 in Haifa, in what is now northern Israel.
  • Naw-Rúz (March 21)

    The Baha’i New Year’s Day coincides with the spring equinox. Naw-Ruz is an ancient Persian festival celebrating the “new day” and for Baha’is it marks the end of the annual 19-Day Fast and is one of the nine holy days of the year when work is suspended.

  • Festival of Ridvan (April 21-May 2)

    The annual Baha’i festival commemorates the 12 days (April 21-May 2, 1863) when Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i Faith, resided in a garden called Ridvan (Paradise) in Baghdad, Iraq. At this time He publicly proclaimed His mission as God’s messenger for this age. The first (April 21), ninth (April 29) and twelfth (May 2) days are celebrated as holy days when work is suspended.

  • Declaration of the Bab (May 23)

    The Baha’i commemorates May 23, 1844, when the Bab, the herald of the Baha’i Faith, announced in Shiraz, Persia (now Iran), that he was the herald of a new messenger of God. It is one of the nine holy days of the year when work is suspended.

  • Ascension of Baha’u’llah (May 29)

    Baha’is observe the anniversary of the death in exile of Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i Faith, on May 29, 1892, outside Akko (also known as Akka or Acre), in what is now northern Israel. It is one of the nine holy days of the year where work is suspended.

  • Martyrdom of the Bab (July 9)

    The holy day commemorates the anniversary of the execution of the Bab (Siyyid ‘Ali-Muhammad), the herald of the Baha’i Faith, by a firing squad on July 9, 1850, in Tabriz, Persia (now Iran). It is one of the nine holy days of the year when work is suspended.

  • Birth of the Bab (Oct. 20)

    The day is an observance of the anniversary of the birth on Oct. 20, 1819, in Shiraz, Persia (now Iran), of Siyyid ‘Ali-Muhammad, who later took the title of “the Bab,” meaning “the Gate.” The Bab was the herald of the Baha’i Faith. The day is one of the nine holy days of the year when work is suspended.

  • Birth of Baha’u’llah (Nov. 12)

    Baha’is observe the anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah (born Mirza Husayn-‘Ali) on Nov. 12, 1817, in Tehran, Persia (now Iran). Baha’u’llah, which means the “Glory of God,” is the founder of the Baha’i Faith. It is one of the nine holy days of the year when work is suspended.

  • Day of the Covenant (Nov. 26)

    The festival commemorates Baha’u’llah’s appointment of his eldest son, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, as the Center of His Covenant.

  • Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Baha (Nov. 28)

    Baha’is observe the anniversary of the death of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, son of Baha’u’llah and His appointed succesor, on Nov 28, 1921 in Haifa, in what is now northern Israel.

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