Bahá’í Holy Days/Special Occasions

Bahá’í Holy Days and Special Occasions 

There are nine Holy Days in the Bahá’í calendar that are set aside to be observed as holy days and work is suspended, and two commemorative occasions associated with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá – the Son of Bahá’u’lláh (refer to These holy days are celebrations and commemorations of important events in the lives of the central figures of the Bahá’í Faith. On the Bahá’í calendar each day begins at sunset and ends at sunset. Many Holy Day observances begin at the start of the day and are therefore are usually shortly after sunset the day before the event, for example Naw-Rúz is on March 21st but commonly the celebrations are held on the evening of March 20th. {Note: Resources for specific Holy Days are listed under the “Resources’ tab.}. Also visit:

“Nine days in the year have been appointed on which work is forbidden. Some of these days have been specifically mentioned in the Book (i.e. Kitáb-i-Aqdas). The rest follows as corollaries to the Text…. Work on the Day of the Covenant (Fete Day of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá), however, is not prohibited. Celebration of that day is left to the discretion of the friends. Its observation is not obligatory. The days pertaining to the Abhá Beauty (Bahá’u’lláh) and the Primal Point (the Báb), that is to say these nine days*, are the only ones on which work connected with trade, commerce, industry and agriculture is not allowed. In like manner, work connected with any form of employment, whether governmental or otherwise, should be suspended.” [*The first day of Ridván; The ninth day of Ridván; The twelfth day of Ridván; The anniversary of the declaration of the Báb; The anniversary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh; The anniversary of the birth of the Báb; The anniversary of the ascension of Bahá'u'lláh; The anniversary of the martyrdom of the Báb; The Feast of Naw-Rúz] {Source: Bahá’í World, Vol. 6, 1934-1936, pp. 419}

Naw-Rúz (March 21, 2018): The Bahá’í New Year’s Day coincides with the spring equinox. Naw-Rúz is an ancient Persian festival celebrating the “new day” and for Bahá’ís it marks the end of the annual 19-Day Fast and is one of the nine holy days of the year when work is suspended.Ridvan Festival

Festival of Ridván (April 21-May 2, 2018): The annual Bahá’í festival commemorates the 12 days (April 21-May 2, 1863) when Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, resided in a garden called Ridván (literally Paradise) in Baghdad, Iraq. At this time He publicly proclaimed His mission as God’s Messenger for this age. The first (April 21), ninth (April 29) and twelfth (May 2) days are celebrated as holy days when work is suspended.

Declaration of the Báb (May 24, 2018): Bahá’ís commemorate the day for when the Báb, the herald of the Bahá’í Faith, announced in Shiraz, Persia (now Iran) on the evening* May 23rd 1844 – two hours after sunset – that He was the herald of a new messenger of God. It is one of the nine holy days of the year when work is suspended. (* the Bahá’í day starts and ends at sunset)

Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh (May 29, 2018): At 3 a.m. Bahá’ís observe the anniversary of the passing of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, on May 29, 1892, who was in exile outside Akká (also known as Akká or Acre), in what is now northern Israel. It is one of the nine holy days of the year when work is suspended.Shrine of The Bab

Martyrdom of the Báb (July 10, 2018): Bahá’ís commemorate the anniversary of the execution of the Báb (Siyyid ‘Ali-Muhammad) – the herald of the Bahá’í Faith, by a firing squad on July 9, 1850, in Tabriz, Persia (now Iran). It is one of the nine holy days of the year when work is suspended.

Birth of the Báb (November 9, 2018): The day is an observance of the anniversary of the birth on October 20, 1819, in Shiraz, Persia (now Iran), of Siyyid ‘Ali-Muhammad, who later took the title of “the Báb,” meaning “the Gate.” The Báb was the herald of the Bahá’í Faith. The day is one of the nine holy days of the year when work is suspended.

Birth of Bahá’u’lláh (November 10, 2018): Bahá’ís observe the anniversary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh (born Mirza Husayn-’Ali) on November 12, 1817, in Tehran, Persia (now Iran). Bahá’u’lláh, which means the “Glory of God,” is the founder of the Bahá’í Faith. This is a special year when Bahá’ís observe the 200th year of Bahá’u’lláh birth & invite everyone to join in this celebration! It is one of the nine holy days of the year when work is suspended.

Day of the Covenant (November 26, 2018): Bahá’ís commemorate Bahá’u’lláh’s appointment of his eldest son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as the Center of His Covenant.

Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (November 28, 2018): Bahá’ís observe the anniversary of the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the eldest son of Bahá’u’lláh and His appointed successor, on November 28, 1921 in Haifa, in what is now northern Israel.

Click here for resources on each Holy Day

Other significant occasions for Bahá’ís

Bahá’í Month of Fasting
The last month in the Bahá’í calendar, March 2-20, 2018,, is dedicated to the Bahá’í Fast. During this time, Bahá’ís between 15 and 70 years of age do not eat or drink for 19 days from sunrise to sunset and set aside time for prayer and meditation. Exemptions from the Fast occur for illness, pregnancy, nursing mothers, extended travel and arduous physical labor. (Click here for more info on the Baha’i Fast)

WRDWorld Religion Day (Third Sunday in January): The day is devoted to proclaiming the oneness of religion and the belief that world religion will unify the peoples of the earth. The Bahá’í-sponsored observance was established in 1950 by the Bahá’ís of the United States.

Ayyám-i-Há or Intercalary Days (February 25-28): Ayyám-i-Há, or “Days of Há,” are devoted to spiritual preparation for the Fast, celebrating, hospitality – helping the poor, the sick, the elderly, charity and gift giving. They are celebrated the four days (five in leap year) before the last month of the Bahá’í year.

Race Unity Day (Second Sunday in June): The Bahá’í-sponsored observance promotes racial harmony and understanding and the essential unity of humanity. It was established in 1957 by the Bahá’ís of the U.S.

Special Days (United Nations – visit for a full list)

International Women’s Day – March 8th: A time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. Visit:

International Day of Nowruz – March 21st: Proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2010, at the initiative of several countries that share this holiday Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan. It is a cultural tradition observed by numerous peoples. Nowruz is an ancestral festivity marking the first day of spring and the renewal of nature. It promotes values of peace and solidarity between generations and within families as well as reconciliation and neighbourliness, thus contributing to cultural diversity and friendship among peoples and different communities.

International Day of Friendship – August 7th: Proclaimed in 2011 by the UN General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities. It places particular emphasis on involving young people, as future leaders, in community activities that include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity. The Day is also intended to support the goals and objectives of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace and the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010).

International Day of Peace – September 21st: A day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The first Peace Day was observed in September 1982. The United Nations invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.

Universal Children’s Day – November 20th: On 14 December 1954, the General Assembly recommended that all countries institute a Universal Children’s Day, to be observed as a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children. It recommended that the Day was to be observed also as a day of activity devoted to promoting the ideals and objectives of the Charter and the welfare of the children of the world. The Assembly suggested to governments that the Day be observed on the date and in the way which each considers appropriate. The date 20 November, marks the day on which the Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989. (We Are the World, We Are the People [PowerPoint-about 10 1/2"])

Human Rights Day – December 10th: The UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 December as Human Rights Day in 1950, to bring to the attention ‘of the peoples of the world’ the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.

Other special days/occasions

National Adoption Day – November 21


Also see Resources (for Bahá’í Holy Days)

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