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Bahai Religious Calendar and Events
|The Bahá'í calendar is based upon the calendar established by the Báb. The year consists of 19 months, each having 19 days, with four or five intercalary days, to make a full solar year. The Bahá'í New Year corresponds to the traditional Persian New Year, called Naw Rúz, and occurs on the vernal equinox, March 21, at the end of the month of fasting. Bahá'í communities gather at the beginning of each month at a meeting called a Feast for worship, consultation and socializing.
Bahai Faith Calendar of Events
Each of the 19 months is given a name which is an attribute of God; some examples include Bahá’, meaning 'splendour, ‘Ilm, which is 'knowledge', and Jamál, or 'beauty'. The Bahá'í calendar week is familiar in that it consists of seven days, with each day of the week also named after an attribute of God. Bahá'ís observe eleven Holy Days throughout the religous year, with work suspended on nine of these religious days. These 'holidays' (holy days) commemorate important anniversaries in the history of the Bahai religion.
History of the Bahá'í Calendar
The Bahá'í calendar, also called the Badí‘ calendar, used by the Bahá'í Faith, is a solar calendar with regular years of 365 days, and leap years of 366 days. Years are composed of 19 months of 19 days each, (361 days) plus an extra period of "Intercalary Days" (4 in regular and 5 in leap years). Years in the calendar begin at the vernal equinox, and are counted with the date notation of BE (Bahá'í Era), with March 21, 1844 CE being the first day of the first year. The period from March 21, 2009 to March 20, 2010 is the year 166 BE. At present, the Bahá'í calendar is synchronized to the Gregorian calendar, meaning that the extra day of a leap year occurs simultaneously in both calendars.
The Bahá'í calendar started from the original Badí‘ calendar, created by the Báb. Bahá'u'lláh confirmed and adopted this calendar and made Naw-Rúz the first day of the year, and also clarified the intercalary days.
Bahá'u'lláh set Naw-Rúz to the day on which the sun passes into the constellation Aries. Bahá'ís interpret this formula as a specification of the vernal equinox.
Although the vernal equinox can occur on March 20, 21 or 22, Shoghi Effendi declared that, for the time being, the Badí‘ calendar is 'locked' to the Gregorian calendar with the new year always starting at sunset on 20 March. Without this, the calendar could vary by a day or two when compared to the Gregorian calendar. The implementation of the variable calendar with respect to the beginning of Naw-Rúz will require the Universal House of Justice selecting a single location for the fixing of the date of the equinox. This 'locked' calendar is the one described in this article.
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Years in the Bahá'í calendar are counted from Thursday, 21 March 1844, the beginning of the Bahá'í Era or Badí‘ Era (abbreviated BE or B.E.). Year 1 BE thus began at sundown 20 March 1844. Using the Bahá'í names for the weekday and month, day one of the Bahá'í Era was Istijlál (Majesty), 1 Bahá (Splendour) 1 BE. The names of the Bahá'í months and days reflect attributes of God.
The Months of the Bahai Calendar Year
The Bahá'í calendar is composed of 19 months, each with 19 days. The Nineteen Day Fast is held during the final month of ‘Alá’ (2 March – 20 March), and is preceded by the intercalary days, known as Ayyám-i-Há. There are four intercalary days in a regular year, and five in a leap year.
The introduction of intercalation marked an important break from Islam, as under the Islamic calendar the practice of intercalation had been specifically prohibited in the Qur'an. The month of fasting is followed by Naw-Rúz, the new year. Because the calendar is currently synchronized with the Gregorian calendar, the Bahá'í leap years happen on common era leap years. In addition, the intercalary days include 28 February and 1 March, causing precise synchronization of the 19 months with the Gregorian calendar.
The names of the months were taken by the Báb from the Du'ay-i-Sahar, a Ramadan dawn prayer by Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (the fifth Imam)
||21 March – 8 April
||9 April – 27 April
||28 April – 16 May
||17 May – 4 June
||5 June – 23 June
||24 June – 12 July
||13 July – 31 July
||1 August – 19 August
||20 August – 7 September
||8 September – 26 September
||27 September – 15 October
||16 October – 3 November
||4 November – 22 November
||23 November – 11 December
||12 December – 30 December
||31 December – 18 January
||19 January – 6 February
||7 February – 25 February
||The Days of Há
||26 February – 1 March
||2 March – 20 March (Month of fasting)
Holy Days of the Bahai Faith
There are eleven holy days in the Bahá'í calendar on nine of which work is suspended. The Festival of Ridván, a twelve day festival that commemorates Bahá'u'lláh's announcement of prophethood, is the most holy Bahá'í festival and is referred to as the Most Great Festival."
On the Islamic lunar calendar, the births of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh fall on consecutive days; the first and second day of Muharram, respectively. The Universal House of Justice has decided to celebrate them on the solar calendar, but has the authority to change the observance to the lunar calendar days, which migrate through the solar calendar by 11 or 12 days each year.
Bahá'u'lláh. Persian inscription reads Mírzá Ḥusayn-`Alí' Nuri
The Eleven Holy Days of Bahai
|Naw-Rúz (Bahá'í New Year)
|First day of Riḍván (Arabic: رضوان)
|Ninth day of Riḍván
|Twelfth day of Riḍván
|Declaration of the Báb
|Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh
|Martyrdom of the Báb
|Birth of the Báb
|Birth of Bahá'u'lláh
|Day of the Covenant
|Ascension of `Abdu'l-Bahá
The Bahá'í week starts on Saturday, and ends on Friday. Days begin at sunset on the previous solar day and end at sunset of the present solar day. Like Islam, Friday is also the day of rest in the Bahá'í Faith.
||Day of the Week
Váḥid and Kull-i-Shay’
Also existing in the Bahá'í calendar system is a 19-year cycle called Váḥid and a 361-year (19x19) supercycle called Kull-i-Shay’ (literally, "All Things"). Each of the 19 years in a Vahid has been given a name as shown in the table below. The 9th Váḥid of the 1st Kull-i-Shay’ started on 21 March 1996, and the 10th Váḥid will begin in 2015. The current Bahá'í year, year 166 BE (21 March 2009 - 20 March 2010), is year Vahháb of the 9th Váḥid of the 1st Kull-i-Shay’. The 2nd Kull-i-Shay’ will begin in 2205.
The concept of a 19-year cycle has existed in some form since the 4th century BC. The Metonic cycle represents an invented measure that approximately correlates solar and lunar markings of time and which appears in several calendar systems.
Years in a Váḥid
Parts of the above article are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from Wikipedia. Images courtesy FCIT
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