Tag Archives: Bahá’í Calendar

” Sonnet In Honour of the First Day of Riḍván”

Bahá’ís throughout the world commemorate this day as the First Day of the Festival of Riḍván, highest Holy Day in the Bahá’í Calendar, a day commemorating the Great Announcement made by Bahá’u’lláh, Prophet/Founder of the Bahá’í Faith on 21 April 1863, in the Garden known by the name of Riḍván [Paradise] in the city of Baghdád, Iraq, to the world that He was the long awaited Messenger of God for this Day foretold in the Holy Books of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Islám, and heralded by the appearance of The Báb in Shiráz, Iran, in 1844. In short, we commemorate the Announcement to the world of the Advent of the Promised One of all ages. The Festival of Riḍván lasts for a full twelve days with the First, Ninth, and Twelfth Day being the highest Holy Days of the Bahá’í Year.

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“Sonnet In Honour of the First Day of Riḍván”

He calls the world to peace; the nations cry for war;
He calls the world toward the sun while the owls flee to shadows
In the night as far from one another as His Will allows.
Refractions in the gloom, they revel in the scores
Of symphonies, adagios, and choruses of universal pain,
The rites of self-annihilation, denial, and mutilation of the soul;
Their bodies, frigates of the aging war fleet grounded in the shoals.
And on this Day of all Days, He gathers refugees from the rain
To clothe the naked with the unity and simplicity of truth, roses
Of the Garden piled before His feet; the Great Announcement
Given first to those who knew His Voice, thereafter, the pronouncement
To the city of future pilgrimage, to Baghdád He discloses
His Identity; at last to all the world: The Second Trumpet’s come!
Lift up the veils, behold the Light! Leave the bats of loathing
To withdraw to their own chosen darknesses before the rising sun.

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Happy and Joyous Ayyám-i-Há!…

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To the Bahá’ís and their friends throughout the world, a Happy and Joyous Ayyám-i-Há!…

Bahá’ís in more than 200 countries and territories are celebrating a four-day festival involving hospitality, gift giving, charity and social gatherings. The festival, which runs from the evening of 25 February until sunset on 1 March, serves as a spiritual preparation for a Holy Fast Period during the last month of the Bahá’í Year, which begins on March 2 and ends on March 20.

Shrine of The Bab

Night view of The Shrine of The Báb, on Mount Carmel, Haifa, Israel

The Báb, the Prophet and Forerunner of Bahá’u’lláh [much as John the Baptist was to The Christ], the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, instituted the Badí Calendar in the Persian Bayán with 19 months of 19 days with a period of intercalary days to allow for the calendar to be solar. He did not, however, specify where the intercalary days should go. Bahá’u’lláh, Who announced Himself to be the One foretold by the Báb, confirmed and adopted the Badí Calendar in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, The Most Holy Book, His book of laws. He placed the intercalary days before the fasting month of `Alá’, the nineteenth and last month, and gave the intercalary days the name “Ayyám-i-Há” or “Days of Há”.

The nineteen months of the Bahá’í Calendar are named after the attributes of God. Ayyám-i-Há commemorates the transcendence of God over His attributes since its name “Há” has been used a symbol of the essence of God in the Bahá’í Holy Scriptures.

During the Festival of Ayyám-i-Há, Bahá’ís are encouraged to celebrate God and His oneness by showing love, fellowship and unity. In many instances Bahá’ís give and accept gifts to show forth the love, and it is a period of the year during which many Bahá’ís hold events which feature hospitality, food, festivities beginning within families and extending outwardly to as many souls as they can physically and materially manage.

Celebrations of Ayyám-i-Há, as the festival is called, take different forms in different locations as suits the taste and culture of the believers wherever they live in the world. At this time, then, since the Bahá’í Faith is acknowledged as the second most widespread of the world’s religions after Christianity, it follows that these festivities are being celebrated truly throughout almost the entire world in as many ways as there are cultures.

Of this period Bahá’u’lláh writes: “It behoveth the people of Bahá, throughout these days, to provide good cheer for themselves, their kindred and, beyond them, the poor and needy, and with joy and exultation to hail and glorify their Lord, to sing His praise and magnify His Name.”

During the Fast which follows, Bahá’ís abstain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset as a reminder of the need for individuals to control their material desires. It is seen as a time of meditation and prayer during which Bahá’ís refresh and reinvigorate themselves spiritually. There are exemptions from the Fast for the young and elderly, and for those who are pregnant, ill or who are engaging in heavy work. The fasting period ends with the joyous Naw-Rúz (New Year) Festival, which begins at sunset on March 20, the first day of spring at the Spring Equinox.

Temple Wilmette

…Interior of the Bahá’í House of Worship, Wilmette, Illinois…