Holy Days

There is no clergy or ritual in the Baha’i Faith, nor any congregational prayer. Bahá’í Holy Days are often observed by the reading of prayers, sometimes from scriptures of other Faiths, and passages recounting episodes in Baha’i history relevant to the occasion. Holy Days often include artistic contributions of music, dance, mime, and crafts, as well as refreshments, according to local custom.

Ridvan*
April 21, April 29, and May 2

It was during this period that Baha’u’llah, the Prophet-Founder of the Baha’i Faith, declared His mission as the most recent Messenger of God. Baha’is observe the first, ninth, and twelfth days of this period (i.e. April 21, 29, and May 2). The actual event occurred in a garden, called Ridvan (Paradise), in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1863.

Declaration of the Bab*
May 23

The Baha’i Faith began in Persia (now Iran) on this day in 1844. It commemorates the announcement by the Prophet known as the Bab of His mission as founder of a new faith and forerunner of a Prophet greater than Himself, Baha’u’llah. The Baha’i calendar dates from this year. The event is usually celebrated about two hours after sunset.

Ascension of Baha’u’llah*
May 29

This date marks the passing of Baha’u’llah in 1892, near Haifa, in the Holy Land. At the time of His death, He had been a prisoner of the Shah of Persia and the Ottoman Empire for 40 years. The event is usually observed at the actual time of His passing, 3:00 a.m.

Martyrdom of the Bab*
July 9

The Bab was put to death at the age of 31 by a firing squad in the market square of Tabriz, Persia, in 1850. This event is observed at noon.

Birth of the Bab*
October 20

The Bab was born Siyyid ‘Ali-Muhammad, in Shiraz in south-western Iran in 1819. His title, in Arabic, means “The Gate.”

Birth of Baha’u’llah*
November 12

Baha’u’llah, ne Mirza Husayn ‘Ali, was born into one of the leading noble families of Persia in 1817. His name is an Arabic title meaning “The Glory of God.”

Day of the Covenant
November 26

The eldest son and appointed successor of Baha’u’llah, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, is referred to as the “Centre of the Covenant.” The Covenant was established by Baha’u’llah to safeguard the unity of the Baha’i community. This day is a celebration of the station of ‘Abdu’l-Baha (a name meaning “Servant of the Glory”), who is revered by Baha’is as the most exemplary Baha’i but is not regarded as a prophet. It was ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s wish that the Covenant be celebrated rather than His own birth date.

Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Baha
November 28

After years of serving both His father and the growing Baha’i community, ‘Abdu’l-Baha passed away in Haifa, Israel, in 1921. During His life, He accomplished much, writing extensively, interpreting many of His father’s writings, safeguarding the unity of the Faith, travelling extensively to visit Baha’is around the world, and addressing interested groups of all kinds.

Intercalary Days
February 26-March 1

The Intercalary Days are four days (five in leap year) that do not belong to any Baha’i month. They are days of celebration, gift-giving, hospitality, and charitable works.

Naw-Ruz* (Baha’i New Year)
March 21

Baha’is celebrate New Year on the first day of spring.

* Work and academic studies should be suspended on these days.