Like other religions, Bahaism has its own calendar of religious observances throughout the year. The Bahai calendar is divided into 19 months of 19 days each, with 4 intercalary days (or 5 in the case of a leap year). The names of the months describe attributes of God. The intercalary days are placed between the 18th and 19th months of the Bahai year, and are a festival period. The first day of each Bahai month is called a "Feast" Day – a day on which Bahais gather for prayers and discussion of community affairs.
Bahai Months, Feast Days, and Special Periods
- March 21: Feast of the Month of Baha (Splendor). Same date as the Bahai and Persian holiday of Naw Ruz (see list of Holy Days below).
- April 9: Feast of the Month of Jalal (Glory)
- April 28: Feast of the Month of Jamal (Beauty)
- May 17: Feast of the Month of Azamat (Grandeur)
- June 5: Feast of the Month of Nur (Light)
- June 24: Feast of the Month of Rahmat (Mercy)
- July 13: Feast of the Month of Kalimat (Words)
- August 1: Feast of the Month of Kamal (Perfection)
- August 20: Feast of the Month of Asma (Names)
- September 8: Feast of the Month of Izzat (Might)
- September 27: Feast of the Month of Mashiyyat (Will)
- October 16: Feast of the Month of Ilm (Knowledge)
- November 4: Feast of the Month of Qudrat (Power)
- November 23: Feast of the Month of Qawl (Speech)
- December 12: Feast of the Month of Mashiyyat (Questions). Same date as the Commemoration of Ghusn-i-Akbar (see list of Other Observances below).
- December 31: Feast of the Month of Sharaf (Honor)
- January 19: Feast of the Month of Sultan (Sovereignty)
- February 7: Feast of the Month of Mulk (Dominion)
- February 26 to March 1: Ayyam-i-Ha. Intercalary days, which are celebrated as a festival of giving and charitable works.
- March 2: Feast of the Month of Ala (Loftiness)
- March 2 to 20: The Fast. The Bahai month of Ala is observed as a time of fasting each day from sunrise to sunset.
Bahai Holy Days
The following are high holy days on which work should be suspended by Bahais:
- March 21: Naw Ruz. This is the Bahai New Year, and it is also observed by Persians as the Persian New Year.
- April 21: First Day of Ridvan. The 12-day Ridvan Festival commemorates the declaration of Bahaullah's prophetic mission.
- April 29: Ninth Day of Ridvan
- May 2: Twelfth Day of Ridvan
- May 23: Declaration of the Bab
- May 29: Ascension of Bahaullah
- July 9: Martyrdom of the Bab
- October 20: Birth of the Bab
- November 12: Birth of Bahaullah
Other Observances of Unitarian Bahais
The following may be observed by Bahais, especially in the Unitarian Bahai tradition. Observing these days is optional. Work need not be suspended on these days:
- Third Sunday in January: World Religion Day. Celebration of all the great religions of the world as manifestations of the search for divine truth and wisdom.
- Second Sunday in June: Race Unity Day. Celebration of the essential unity of human beings in our great diversity of races and ethnic groups.
- November 20: Day of the Empty Throne. Observed only in the Unitarian Bahai tradition. The anniversary of the day, in 1957, on which leaders of the Bahai religion voted to declare the office of Guardianship permanently vacant following the sudden death of Shoghi Effendi without leaving a will. Unitarian Bahais mourn the loss of the Bahai successorship and celebrate the subsequent freedom of Bahais to interpret and practice their faith in their own way.
- November 26: Commemoration of Abdul-Baha. This day is called the "Day of the Covenant" by Bahais in the Haifan tradition. It is a day to call to remembrance the life and teachings of the first son and successor of Bahaullah, who was a charismatic missionary who spread Bahaism to the West.
- December 12: Commemoration of Ghusn-i-Akbar. Observed only in the Unitarian Bahai tradition. The Feast of Questions has been informally chosen as a day to call to remembrance the life and teachings of the second son of Bahaullah, whom he chose to be his second successor after Abdul-Baha. Ghusn-i-Akbar courageously questioned his elder brother's claims of absolute, infallible divine authority and advocated for individual freedom among Bahais.
For inspirational messages from the Unitarian Bahai Association on Bahai Feast days and holy days, visit BahaiFeast.com.
Unitarian Bahai Association Homepage