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Bahai Calendar and the Bahai Observances
The Bahai CalendarIt is a fact that all major religions have their own special calendar; the same goes for the Bahai religion. The Baha'i calendar exists in order to organize the special events and activities that adherents celebrate within the year. The history of the Bahai calendar can be traced back to the ministry of the Bab (from the years 1844 to 1853), and was since ratified by Bahaullah. The year 1844 A.D., the year of the Bab's declaration, is the main epoch of the calendar, such that year 2007 of the Western Calendar is considered as Era 163.
The Bahai calendar (also known as the Badi Calendar) is one of the most interesting calendars mainly because this solar calendar is divided into nineteen distinct months with nineteen days each (with 4-5 intercalary days added to complete the 365 days). It starts on the 21st of March, which coincides with the first day of spring and astronomically fixed with the Spring equinox.
Bahai calendar months (as well as the days of the week) are all named after the attributes of God. It is even more interesting because the Bahai week begins with a Saturday, and their days always begin and end at sunset. Listed below are the nineteen months of the Bahai calendar:
The First Days of the Bahai MonthThe Bahai calendar contains the most significant dates of the Bahai faith. The first day of every Bahai month is special to the Bahai religion. On these days, Bahai communities gather and hold a worship service that they call a Nineteen Day Feast. These gatherings are held for prayer, consultation and fellowship, and it is also through this worship service that the social and spiritual affairs of the community are discussed.
Bahai Fasting MonthOn the other hand, the last month of the Bahai calendar is devoted to Fasting. During the Ala month, Baha'is who are between 15 to 70 years old do not eat nor drink from sunrise to sunset and are required to set aside time for their prayers and meditation.
Bahai HolidaysThe Baha'is also practice nine holy days wherein all adherents do not work. These Bahai holidays are anniversaries of the most central figures of the Bahai faith. Among the Bahai Holy Days are as follows:
In addition to the Holy Days, the Baha'is have two more holidays (marked with '*' above) wherein work is not suspended. The intercalary days of the Bahai calendar (known as the Ayyam-i-Ha) fall on the last four (or five in a leap year) days before the last Bahai month of the year, and are devoted to spiritual preparations for fasting. This is also considered by the Baha'is as a time of charity, hospitality and generous gift-giving.
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