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Religion Library: Baha'i

Sacred Time

Written by: Moojan Momen

There are regular occasions throughout the year on which the Baha'i community comes together to worship or commemorate a holy day. The foundation of Baha'i community life is the Nineteen-Day Feast, when the whole community meets on the first day of each Baha'i month. This meeting consists of a devotional part, during which prayers and readings from the scriptures are read. There is then a period of community consultation during which everyone is free to bring up any matter that they feel is of concern. There are usually also reports and communications from Baha'i institutions during this period. The final part of the meeting is a social portion during which refreshments are offered, and there may also be music and other cultural activities.

Baha'is also gather to commemorate their holy days. There are nine holy days on which work should be suspended and another two on which it is not necessary to suspend work. These holy days commemorate the births, the deaths, and the declarations of the missions of the Bab and Baha'u'llah, as well as the New Year's Day, which is called Naw-Ruz (New Day, March 21st). There is no set form or ritual for these meetings and Baha'is will usually select a number of relevant prayers and readings. For purposes of religious commemorations, the day begins at sunset and so these meetings can be held on the evening before the day on which they fall. Some holy days, such as the Declaration of the Bab or the Ascension (death) of Baha'u'llah, are commemorated at the precise time that they occurred.

Days on which work should be suspended:
Naw-Rúz (New year)21 March
Ridván - first day21 April
Ridván - ninth day29 April
Ridván - twelfth day2 May
The Báb's declaration of his mission23 May
Passing of Bahá'u'lláh29 May
Martyrdom of the Báb9 July
Birth of the Báb20 October
Birth of Bahá'u'lláh12 November
Days on which work is permitted:
Day of the Covenant26 November
Passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha28 November

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