glossary of terms

Baha'i Nineteen-Day Fast

A time of particular concentration on devotions and the individual's spiritual development is the period of the fast, which occurs during the last month of the Baha'i year (March 2-20). Baha'is do not eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset. There are exemptions from this requirement for the sick, the elderly, the traveler, and for pregnant and breast-feeding mothers. This fasting is a symbol and reminder of how human beings should be detached from all physical things. It is used as a period of spiritual renewal each year. It should be mentioned, however, that although prayer and fasting are obligatory, these are personal obligations and there are no communal mechanisms for checking up on or sanctioning a failure to observe them.

Read more about the Baha'i Faith—its history, beliefs, and traditions.