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The Bahá'í Calendar

The Bahá'í Calendar, also called the Badí calendar, was established by the Báb in the Kitáb-i-Asmá and approved by Bahá'u'lláh, Who stated that it should start in 1844AD (AH1260).

Holy Days

The Year

It is based on the solar year of 365 days, five hours and some fifty minutes. Each year is divided into nineteen months of nineteen days each with four Intercalary Days (five in a leap year), called Ayyám-i-Há which Bahá'u'lláh specified should precede the nineteenth month. New Year's Day (Naw Rúz) falls on the Spring Equinox. This usually occurs on 21 March but if the Equinox falls after sunset on 21 March, Naw Rúz is to be celebrated on 22 March because the Bahá'í day begins at sunset.

The Months

The names of the months in the Bahá'í ( Badí) calendar were given by the Báb, who drew them from the nineteen names of God invoked in a prayer said during the month of fasting in Shí'ih Islam. They are:

  1. Bahá - Splendour - 21 March - 8 April
  2. Jalál - Glory - 9 April - 27 April
  3. Jamál - Beauty - 28 April - 16 May
  4. 'Azamat - Grandeur - 17 May - 4 June
  5. Núr - Light - 5 June - 23 June
  6. Rahmat - Mercy - 24 June - 12 July
  7. Kalimát - Words - 13 July - 31 July
  8. Kamál - Perfection - 1 August - 19 August
  9. Asmá' - Names - 20 August - 7 September
  10. 'Izzat - Might - 8 September - 26 September
  11. Mashíyyat - Will - 27 September - 15 October
  12. 'Ilm - Knowledge - 16 October - 3 November
  13. Qudrat - Power - 4 November - 22 November
  14. Qawl - Speech - 23 November - 11 December
  15. Masá'il - Questions - 12 December - 30 December
  16. Sharaf - Honour - 31 December 18 January
  17. Sultán - Sovereignty - 19 January - 6 February
  18. Mulk - Dominion - 7 February - 25 February
  19. 'Alá - Loftiness - 2 March - 20 March

The Days

The days of the Bahá'í week are
  1. Jalál - Glory (Saturday)
  2. Jamál - Beauty (Sunday)
  3. Kamál - Perfection (Monday)
  4. Fidál - Grace (Tuesday)
  5. 'Idál - Justice (Wednesday)
  6. Istijlál - Majesty (Thursday)
  7. Istiqlál - Independence (Friday)

The Bahá'í day of rest is Isiqlál (Friday) and the Bahá'í day begins and ends at sunset.

Each of the days of the month is also given the name of one of the attributes of God. the names are the same as those of the nineteen months; thus Naw-Rúz, the first day of the first month, would be considered the 'day of Bahá of the month Bahá'. If it fell on a Saturday, the first day of the Bahá'í week, it would also be the 'day of jalál'.

The Cycles (Váhid)

In His Writings, revealed in Arabic, the Báb divided the years following the date of His Revelation into cycles of nineteen years each.

Each cycle of nineteen years is called a Váhid; nineteen cycles constitute a period called Kull-i-Shay

The names of the years in each cycle are:

  1. Alif - The Letter "A"
  2. Bá - The letter "B"
  3. Ab - Father
  4. Dál - The letter "D"
  5. Báb - Gate
  6. Váv - The letter "V"
  7. Abad - Eternity
  8. Jád - Generosity
  9. Bahá - Splendour
  10. Hubb - Love
  11. Bahháj - Delightful
  12. Javáb - Answer
  13. Ahad - Single
  14. Vahháb - Bountiful
  15. Vidád - Affection
  16. Badí - Beginning
  17. Bahí - Luminous
  18. Abhá - Most Luminous
  19. Váhid - Unity


Literally, Days of Há (i.e. the letter Há, which in the abjad system has the numerical value of 5). Intercalary Days. The four days (five in a leap year) before the last month of the Bahá'í year, 'Alá', which is the month of fasting. Bahá'u'lláh designated the Intercalary days as Ayyám-i-Há in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and specified when they should be observed; the Báb left this undefined. The Ayyám-i-Há are devoted to spiritual preparation for the fast, hospitality, feasting, charity and gift giving.

The Holy Days

Naw Rúz

Literally, New Day. The Bahá'í New Year. Like the ancient Persian New Year, it occurs on the spring equinox, which generally falls on 21 March. If the equinox falls after sunset on 21 March, Naw Rúz is celebrated on 22 March, since the Bahá'í day begins at sunset. For the present, however, the celebration of Naw Rúz is fixed on 21 March. In the Bahá'í calandar, Naw Rúz falls on the day of Bahá of the month of Bahá.

The Festival of Naw Rúz marks the end of the month of fasting and is a joyous time of celebration. It is a Bahá'í Holy Day on which work is to be suspended.

Why a new Calendar?

Every new religion has its own calendar and the Bahá'í Faith is no different.

The Gregorian calendar currently in use in the west is quite unscientific, as the "months" are a throwback to the days when people used the phases of the moon to mark the passage of time (the moon goes through its phases in 29 days). "Month" may be considered short for "moonth". The names of our months were assigned to show respect to various Roman deities and emperors, ie., June for the goddess Juno, July for Julius Caesar, August for Augustus Ceasar. September, October, November, and December mean "7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th" as they were the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th months originally. So why are we still showing our respect for Roman Emperors? Isn't it time to adopt a calendar based on the Sun, rather than the moon? And instead of honoring ancient deities, the Bahá'í months are named for attributes of God.

Similarly, our days of the week are named for attributes of the one true God, instead of honoring the sun god, moon god and mythological gods such as Woden, Thor, and Saturn. Judge objectively for yourself which calendar is more appropriate for today.This discription of the gregorian calendar was in answer to a question on the newsgroup soc.religion.bahai

Parts of this Page have been copied from "A Basic Bahá'í Dictionary"
Permission has been granted by the publisher and it's general editor, Dr. Wendy Momen, to quote from it.
The Publisher of "A Basic Bahá'í Dictionary" and many other fine books is,
George Ronald, 46 High Street, Kidlington, Oxford OX5 2DN.

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Web Page originally by Graham Sorenson; used and reworked with permission.