Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Bahá'í calendar

Bahá'í calendar

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Bahá'í calendar'
Start a new discussion about 'Bahá'í calendar'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The Bahá'í calendar, also called the Badí‘ calendar (badí‘ means wondrous or unique ), used by the Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

, is a solar calendar
Solar calendar
A solar calendar is a calendar whose dates indicate the position of the earth on its revolution around the sun .-Tropical solar calendars:...

 with regular years of 365 days, and leap year
Leap year
A leap year is a year containing one extra day in order to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year...

s of 366 days. Years are composed of 19 months of 19 days each, (361 days) plus an extra period of "Intercalary Days
Intercalation
Intercalation is the insertion of a leap day, week or month into some calendar years to make the calendar follow the seasons or moon phases. Lunisolar calendars may require intercalations of both days and months.- Solar calendars :...

" (4 in regular and 5 in leap years). Years in the calendar begin at the vernal equinox, and are counted with the date notation
Calendar era
A calendar era is the year numbering system used by a calendar. For example, the Gregorian calendar numbers its years in the Western Christian era . The instant, date, or year from which time is marked is called the epoch of the era...

 of BE (Bahá'í Era), with 21 March 1844 CE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

 being the first day of the first year. The period from 21 March 2011 to 20 March 2012 is the year 168 BE. At present, the Bahá'í calendar is synchronized to the Gregorian calendar
Gregorian calendar
The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...

, meaning that the extra day of a leap year occurs simultaneously in both calendars.

History


The Bahá'í calendar started from the original Badí‘ calendar, created by the Báb
Báb
Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four claimed to be the promised Qá'im . After his declaration he took the title of Báb meaning "Gate"...

. Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh , born ' , was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity, and...

 confirmed and adopted this calendar and made Naw-Rúz
Bahá'í Naw-Rúz
Naw-Rúz in the Bahá'í Faith is one of nine holy days for adherents of the Bahá'í Faith worldwide and the first day of the Bahá'í calendar occurring on the vernal equinox, around March 21...

 the first day of the year, and also clarified the intercalary days.

Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh , born ' , was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity, and...

 set Naw-Rúz
Bahá'í Naw-Rúz
Naw-Rúz in the Bahá'í Faith is one of nine holy days for adherents of the Bahá'í Faith worldwide and the first day of the Bahá'í calendar occurring on the vernal equinox, around March 21...

 to the day on which the sun passes into the constellation Aries. Bahá'ís interpret this formula as a specification of the vernal equinox.

Although the vernal equinox can occur on March 20, 21 or 22, Shoghi Effendi
Shoghi Effendi
Shoghí Effendí Rabbání , better known as Shoghi Effendi, was the Guardian and appointed head of the Bahá'í Faith from 1921 until his death in 1957...

 declared that, for the time being, the Badí‘ calendar is 'locked' to the Gregorian calendar with the new year always starting at sunset on 20 March. Without this, the calendar could vary by a day or two when compared to the Gregorian calendar
Gregorian calendar
The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...

. The implementation of the variable calendar with respect to the beginning of Naw-Rúz will require the Universal House of Justice
Universal House of Justice
The Universal House of Justice is the supreme governing institution of the Bahá'í Faith. It is a legislative institution with the authority to supplement and apply the laws of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, and exercises a judicial function as the highest appellate institution in the...

 selecting a single location for the fixing of the date of the equinox, such as the Qiblih
Qiblih
In the Bahá'í Faith the Qiblih is the location that Bahá'ís should face when saying their daily obligatory prayers, and is fixed at the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, near `Akká, in present day Israel; approximately at ....

. The 'locked' calendar is the one described in this article.

Years in the Bahá'í calendar are counted from Thursday, 21 March 1844, the beginning of the Bahá'í Era
Calendar era
A calendar era is the year numbering system used by a calendar. For example, the Gregorian calendar numbers its years in the Western Christian era . The instant, date, or year from which time is marked is called the epoch of the era...

 or Badí‘ Era (abbreviated BE or B.E.). Year 1 BE thus began at sundown 20 March 1844. Using the Bahá'í names for the weekday and month, day one of the Bahá'í Era was Istijlál (Majesty), 1 Bahá (Splendour) 1 BE. As detailed below, the names of the Bahá'í months and days reflect attributes of God.

Months


The Bahá'í calendar is composed of 19 months, each with 19 days. The Nineteen Day Fast
Nineteen Day Fast
The Nineteen-Day Fast is a nineteen-day period of the year, during which members of the Bahá'í Faith adhere to a sunrise-to-sunset fast. Along with obligatory prayer, it is one of the greatest obligations of a Bahá'í, and its chief purpose is spiritual; to reinvigorate the soul and bring the...

 is held during the final month of ‘Alá’ (2 March – 20 March), and is preceded by the intercalary days, known as Ayyám-i-Há
Ayyám-i-Há
Ayyám-i-Há refers to a period of four or five intercalary days in the Bahá'í calendar, where Bahá'ís celebrate the Festival of Ayyám-i-Há...

. There are four intercalary days in a regular year, and five in a leap year. The introduction of intercalation
Intercalation
Intercalation is the insertion of a leap day, week or month into some calendar years to make the calendar follow the seasons or moon phases. Lunisolar calendars may require intercalations of both days and months.- Solar calendars :...

 marked an important break from Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, as under the Islamic calendar
Islamic calendar
The Hijri calendar , also known as the Muslim calendar or Islamic calendar , is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. It is used to date events in many Muslim countries , and used by Muslims everywhere to determine the proper day on which to celebrate Islamic...

 the practice of intercalation had been specifically prohibited in the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

. The month of fasting is followed by Naw-Rúz
Bahá'í Naw-Rúz
Naw-Rúz in the Bahá'í Faith is one of nine holy days for adherents of the Bahá'í Faith worldwide and the first day of the Bahá'í calendar occurring on the vernal equinox, around March 21...

, the new year. Because the calendar is currently synchronized with the Gregorian calendar, the Bahá'í leap years happen on common era
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

 leap years. In addition, the intercalary days include 28 February and 1 March, causing precise synchronization of the 19 months with the Gregorian calendar.

The names of the months were taken by the Báb from the Du'ay-i-Sahar
Du'ay-i-Sahar
Du'ay-i-Sahar is a Ramadan dawn prayer written by Muhammad al-Baqir, the fifth Imam of Twelver Shi'ah Islam.-External links:* Stephen N. Lambden. *...

, a Ramadan dawn prayer by Imam
Imam
An imam is an Islamic leadership position, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. Similar to spiritual leaders, the imam is the one who leads Islamic worship services. More often, the community turns to the mosque imam if they have a religious question...

 Muhammad al-Baqir
Muhammad al-Baqir
Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī al-Bāqir was the Fifth Imām to the Twelver Shi‘a and Fourth Imām to the Ismā‘īlī Shī‘a. His father was the previous Imām, ‘Alī ibn Ḥusayn, and his mother was Fatimah bint al-Hasan...

, the fifth Imam of Twelver Shi'ah Islam. These month names are described as describing attributes of God.
Month Arabic Name Arabic Script English Translation Gregorian Dates
1 Bahá بهاء Splendour 21 March – 8 April
2 Jalál جلال Glory 9 April – 27 April
3 Jamál جمال Beauty 28 April – 16 May
4 ‘Aẓamat عظمة Grandeur 17 May – 4 June
5 Núr نور Light 5 June – 23 June
6 Raḥmat رحمة Mercy 24 June – 12 July
7 Kalimát كلمات Words 13 July – 31 July
8 Kamál كمال Perfection 1 August – 19 August
9 Asmá’ اسماء Names 20 August – 7 September
10 ‘Izzat عزة Might 8 September – 26 September
11 Mashíyyat مشية Will 27 September – 15 October
12 ‘Ilm علم Knowledge 16 October – 3 November
13 Qudrat قدرة Power 4 November – 22 November
14 Qawl قول Speech 23 November – 11 December
15 Masá’il مسائل Questions 12 December – 30 December
16 Sharaf شرف Honour 31 December – 18 January
17 Sulṭán سلطان Sovereignty 19 January – 6 February
18 Mulk ملك Dominion 7 February – 25 February
Ayyám-i-Há
Ayyám-i-Há
Ayyám-i-Há refers to a period of four or five intercalary days in the Bahá'í calendar, where Bahá'ís celebrate the Festival of Ayyám-i-Há...

ايام الهاء The Days of Há 26 February – 1 March
19 ‘Alá’ علاء Loftiness 2 March – 20 March (Month of fasting)

Holy days


There are eleven holy days in the Bahá'í calendar on nine of which work is suspended. The Festival of Ridván
Ridván
Riḍván is a twelve-day festival in the Bahá'í Faith, commemorating the commencement of Bahá'u'lláh's prophethood. It begins at sunset on April 20 and continues until sunset, May 2...

, a twelve day festival that commemorates Bahá'u'lláh's announcement of prophethood, is the most holy Bahá'í festival and is referred to as the "Most Great Festival."

On the Islamic lunar calendar, the births of the Báb
Báb
Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four claimed to be the promised Qá'im . After his declaration he took the title of Báb meaning "Gate"...

 and Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh , born ' , was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity, and...

 fall on consecutive days; the first and second day of Muharram
Muharram
Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is one of the four sacred months of the year in which fighting is prohibited...

, respectively. The Universal House of Justice has decided to celebrate them on the solar calendar, but has the authority to change the observance to the lunar calendar days, which migrate through the solar calendar by 11 or 12 days each year.
Name Gregorian Dates Work Suspended
Naw-Rúz
Bahá'í Naw-Rúz
Naw-Rúz in the Bahá'í Faith is one of nine holy days for adherents of the Bahá'í Faith worldwide and the first day of the Bahá'í calendar occurring on the vernal equinox, around March 21...

 (Bahá'í New Year)
March 21 Yes
First day of Riḍván
Ridván
Riḍván is a twelve-day festival in the Bahá'í Faith, commemorating the commencement of Bahá'u'lláh's prophethood. It begins at sunset on April 20 and continues until sunset, May 2...

 (Arabic
Arabic alphabet
The Arabic alphabet or Arabic abjad is the Arabic script as it is codified for writing the Arabic language. It is written from right to left, in a cursive style, and includes 28 letters. Because letters usually stand for consonants, it is classified as an abjad.-Consonants:The Arabic alphabet has...

: رضوان)
April 21 Yes
Ninth day of Riḍván April 29 Yes
Twelfth day of Riḍván May 2 Yes
Declaration of the Báb
Báb
Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four claimed to be the promised Qá'im . After his declaration he took the title of Báb meaning "Gate"...

 
May 23 Yes
Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh , born ' , was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity, and...

 
May 29 Yes
Martyrdom of the Báb
Execution of the Báb
On the morning of July 9, 1850 in Tabriz, a young Persian merchant known as the Báb was charged with apostasy and shot by order of the Prime Minister of the Persian Empire...

 
July 9 Yes
Birth of the Báb October 20 Yes
Birth of Bahá'u'lláh
Birth of Bahá'u'lláh
The Birth of Bahá'u'lláh is one of nine holy days in the Bahá'í calendar that is celebrated by Bahá'ís and during which work is suspended. The holy day celebrates the birth of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith....

 
November 12 Yes
Day of the Covenant
Day of the Covenant (Bahá'í)
The Day of the Covenant is the day when Bahá'ís celebrate the appointment of `Abdu'l-Bahá as the Centre of Baha'u'llah's Covenant. It occurs yearly on November 26....

 
November 26 No
Ascension of `Abdu'l-Bahá
`Abdu'l-Bahá
‘Abdu’l-Bahá , born ‘Abbás Effendí, was the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. In 1892, `Abdu'l-Bahá was appointed in his father's will to be his successor and head of the Bahá'í Faith. `Abdu'l-Bahá was born in Tehran to an aristocratic family of the realm...

 
November 28 No

Weekdays


The Bahá'í week starts on Saturday, and ends on Friday. Like Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 and Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, days begin at sunset on the previous solar day
Solar time
Solar time is a reckoning of the passage of time based on the Sun's position in the sky. The fundamental unit of solar time is the day. Two types of solar time are apparent solar time and mean solar time .-Introduction:...

 and end at sunset of the present solar day. Bahá'í writings indicate that Friday is to be kept as a day of rest. The practice of keeping Friday as a day of rest is not observed by all Bahá'ís, however; for example, in the UK, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís does not currently keep this practice.
Arabic Name Arabic Script English Translation Day of the Week
Jalál جلال Glory Saturday
Jamál جمال Beauty Sunday
Kamál كمال Perfection Monday
Fiḍál فضال Grace Tuesday
‘Idál عدال Justice Wednesday
Istijlál استجلال Majesty Thursday
Istiqlál استقلال Independence Friday

Váḥid and Kull-i-Shay’


Also existing in the Bahá'í calendar system is a 19-year cycle called Váḥid and a 361-year (19x19) supercycle called Kull-i-Shay’ (literally, "All Things"). Each of the 19 years in a Vahid has been given a name as shown in the table below. The 9th Váḥid of the 1st Kull-i-Shay’ started on 21 March 1996, and the 10th Váḥid will begin in 2015. The current Bahá'í year, year 168 BE (21 March 2011 - 20 March 2012), is year Badí‘ of the 9th Váḥid of the 1st Kull-i-Shay’. The 2nd Kull-i-Shay’ will begin in 2205.

The concept of a 19-year cycle has existed in some form since the 4th century BC. The Metonic cycle
Metonic cycle
In astronomy and calendar studies, the Metonic cycle or Enneadecaeteris is a period of very close to 19 years which is remarkable for being very nearly a common multiple of the solar year and the synodic month...

represents an invented measure that approximately correlates solar and lunar markings of time and which appears in several calendar systems.

Years in a Váḥid:
No. Persian Name Arabic Script English Translation
1 Alif ألف A
2 Bá’ باء B
3 Ab أب Father
4 Dál دﺍﻝ D
5 Báb باب Gate
6 Váv وﺍو V
7 Abad أبد Eternity
8 Jád جاد Generosity
9 Bahá' بهاء Splendour
10 Ḥubb حب Love
11 Bahháj بهاج Delightful
12 Javáb جواب Answer
13 Aḥad احد Single
14 Vahháb وﻫﺎب Bountiful
15 Vidád وداد Affection
16 Badí‘ بدیع Beginning
17 Bahí بهي Luminous
18 Abhá ابهى Most Luminous
19 Váḥid واحد Unity

External links