Bahá’í Holy Days
There is no clergy or ritual in the Bahá’í 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 Bahá’í 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.
Festival of Ridván* (pronounced REZ-vahn)
April 21 to May 2
It was during this period that Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, declared His mission as the most recent Messenger of God. Bahá’ís 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 Ridván (Paradise), in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1863.
Declaration of the Báb*
The Bahá’í Faith began in Persia (now Iran) on this day in 1844. It commemorates the announcement by the Prophet known as the Báb of His mission as founder of a new faith and forerunner of a Prophet greater than Himself, Bahá’u’lláh. The Bahá’í calendar dates from this year. The event is usually celebrated about two hours after sunset.
Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh*
This date marks the passing of Bahá’u’lláh 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 Báb*
The Báb 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 Báb*
The Báb was born Siyyid ‘Ali-Muhammad, in Shiraz in south-western Iran in 1819. His title, in Arabic, means “The Gate.”
Birth of Bahá’u’lláh*
Bahá’u’lláh, né Mirzá 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
The eldest son and appointed successor of Bahá’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, is referred to as the “Centre of the Covenant.” The Covenant was established by Bahá’u’lláh to safeguard the unity of the Bahá’í community. This day is a celebration of the station of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (a name meaning “Servant of the Glory”), who is revered by Bahá’ís as the most exemplary Bahá’í but is not regarded as a prophet. It was ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s wish that the Covenant be celebrated rather than His own birth date.
Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
After years of serving both His father and the growing Bahá’í community, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 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 Bahá’ís around the world, and addressing interested groups of all kinds.
February 26-March 1
The Intercalary Days are four days (five in leap year) that do not belong to any Bahá’í month. They are days of celebration, gift-giving, hospitality, and charitable works.
Naw-Rúz* (Bahá’í New Year)
Bahá’ís celebrate New Year on the first day of spring.
* Work and academic studies should be suspended on these days.