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).
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 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:
The DaysThe days of the Bahá'í week are
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:
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
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"
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Web Page originally by Graham Sorenson; used and reworked with permission.