The Bahá’í Calendar

There is a surprising number of calendars in use around the world and it is essential, if real world unity is to be established, that there should be one calendar that is recognised and acceptable the world over. It is an essential part of the distinctive Bahá’í life that all the Bahá’ís the world over observe, in their religious activities, a calendar which was inaugurated by the Báb. The calendar brings some entirely new ideas in the measurement of time and the fixing of dates. The solar year was adopted but it begins, like the ancient Persian New Year and the modern Iranian Naw-Rúz, with the March equinox (21 March). It is therefore astronomically fixed and the Bahá’í era commences with the year of the Declaration of the Báb (1844).

In the Bahá’í year there are 19 months of 19 days each, making a total of 361 days, so between the 18 and 19 month there are four or five ‘intercalary days’. The nineteenth month is a month of fasting in preparation for the celebration of the New Year’s Day (Naw-Rúz). The Báb named the months after the attributes of God and the Bahá’í day starts and ends at sunset.

The names of the 19 months are as follows:

 
Month Arabic Name Translation First Days
1st Month Baha Splendour March 21
2nd Month Jalal Glory April 9
3rd Month Jamal Beauty April 28
4th Month ‘Azamat Grandeur May 17
5th Month Nur Light June 5
6th Month Rahmat Mercy June 24
7th Month Kalimat Words July 13
8th Month Kamal Perfection August 1
9th Month Asma Names August 20
10th Month ‘Izzat Might September 8
11th Month Mashiyyat Will September 27
12th Month ‘Ilm Knowledge October 16
13th Month Qudrat Power November 4
14th Month Qawl Speech November 23
15th Month Masa’il Questions December 12
16th Month Sharaf Honour December 31
17th Month Sultan Sovereignty January 19
18th Month 1 Mulk Dominion February 7
19th Month ‘Ala Loftiness March 2

 

During the year there are special feasts and anniversaries as well as the days of fasting and these are listed as follows:

 
Naw Ruz (New Year’s Day)
March 21
1st Day of Ridvan
April 21
9th Day of Ridvan
April 29
12th Day of Ridvan
May 2
Declaration of The Bab
May 23
Ascension of Baha’u’llah
May 29
Martyrdom of The Bab
July 9
The Birth of the Bab
October 20
The Birth of Baha’u’llah
November 12

 

During the Bahá’í year there are nine holy days on which all work is suspended. Three of these are in the period which commemorates the declaration of Bahá’u’lláh and there is one for the Declaration of the Báb while two of them mark the birthdays of both the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh and two commemorate their deaths. The ninth one is the New Year’s day.

(Mary Perkins and Philip Hainsworth,The Bahá’í Faith, p.127)