Baha’i Holidays Calendar 2015 marks all the days round the year that are considered significant by people observing the Baha’i religion. Baha’i faith is based on monotheistic principles that were propagated by Bahá’u’lláh who founded the religion in the 19th-century.
The religion aims to unify all the human beings. The calendar that is followed by the Baha’is is a solar calendar. It has 365 days like a modern day calendar. It also has provisions for a Leap Year once in every four years that consists of 366 days.
However, unlike the Gregorian calendar, each year of the Baha’i calendar consists of 19 months each of which constitute of 19 days. Along with that there is also a provision for an extra period that is known as the ‘Intercalary Days’. This calendar system is known by the name of Badi’, the word Badi’ literally signifying unique or wondrous. However to keep in pace with the modern times, efforts have been made to integrate the Badi’ calendar to the Gregorian one.
In one calendar year, the people observing the Baha’i faith consider nine days to be auspicious or holy. Apart from these nine days there is a period of annual fasting that is also a mandate for them. Furthermore there are some other days that are special for the Baha’is although traditionally these days are not marked as holy as as such do not require abstinence from work.
Traditional Baha’i commemorations are generally revolving around the life and events of those people who are considered to be significant contributors or the flag bearers of the Baha’i faith. The exception to this is the Baha’i New Year celebrations.
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Here is a comprehensive list of Baha’i celebrations and observances in the year 2015 with a brief description of what the day commemorates –
- Naw-Ruz (Baha’i New Year) — March 21, 2015 (Saturday) – This is the first day of the Baha’i calendar and marks the beginning of the New Year for the Baha’i community. This day is observed on the day of the Vernal Equinox. This is a joyous and merry occasion that is commemorated with music, dancing, feasting etc along with prayers. Feasting is given special significance since the New Year marks the end of an auspicious fasting period of nineteen days.
- Festival of Ridvan — April 21, 2015 (Tuesday) – This marks the beginning of the twelve days that is celebrated to commemorate the day when Bahá’u’lláh’s commenced as a Prophet. During these auspicious twelve days an observant Baha’i is expected to refrain from working.
- Declaration of the Bab — May 23, 2015 (Saturday) – This is one of the most significant festivals for the Baha’i community. This is the day when it is believed that Bab revealed that it was He who was heralding a new message sent by God, and that this aimed to bring in the much awaited period that will be blessed with unity, peace and justice.
- Ascension of the Baha’u’llah — May 29, 2015 (Friday) – At three in the morning on this day in the year 1892 the founder-prophet of the Baha’i religion Baha’u’llah died at the age of seventy five. He was at that time living in exile in the outskirts of Akka in a house that is known as Bahji.
- Martyrdom of the Bab — July 09, 2015 (Thursday) – This is the day when in the year 1850, Siyyid Ali Muhammed, the prophet-herald, was killed at noon. He was brutally put before a firing squad. Prior to that He had to serve an imprisonment for three years. It is believed that immediately after the incident a ferocious storm blew up that covered the whole city in a dark cloud of dust that was strong enough to even block the sun till the night set in. The body was dumped in the outskirts of the city after the killing, and later was rescued by the Bábís under the darkness of the night. The body was then preserved in a plain wooden box and was hidden at different places over a long period of time. In the year 1909 finally the Baha’is laid the body to rest and as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá made a beautiful shrine located on Mt. Carmel.
- Birth of the Bab — October 20, 2015 (Tuesday) – This is a holy day for the Baha’i community when they refrain from work to commemorate the birthday of Siyyid Ali Muhammad, one of the three pioneering figures who have been pillars of strength for the Baha’i faith.
- Birth of Baha’u’llah — November 12, 2015 (Thursday) – This is the day that commemorates the birth of Baha’u’llah, the founder prophet of the Baha’i religion. This is a non working holy day.
- Day of the Covenant – November 26, 2015 (Thursday) – This day commemorates when Baha’u’llah appointed his eldest son, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, as the Center of His Covenant. However, this is not a traditional ‘holy’ day since the humble ‘Abdu’l-Baha preferred to be only his Father’s Son.
- Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Baha – May 29, 2015 (Friday) – This day observes the death anniversary of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, the eldest son of Baha’u’llah, who was His successor. However this too is not considered as a “holy day” for ‘Abdu’l-Baha wanted to be known only as his Father’s Servant.
Apart from these there are three more observances should have special mention. These are –
- The Nineteen Days of Fasting – March 2 (Monday) to March 20 (Friday), 2015 – This is the period when an observant Baha’i dedicates a chunk of time to meditation and prayer and is believed to have been initiated by Bahá’u’lláh himself. The aim is to connect with one’s soul and to bring alive the spiritual forces that are latent in one’s subconscious. Fasting is widely observed during this period for it is believed to signify restrain from selfish lusts and carnal desires. This period of fasting comes immediately before the Baha’i New Year which is commemorated in the Baha’i month of Ala, which signifies Loftiness. All members of the Baha’i community between the age of 15 and 70 years and have sound health observe this fast of these nineteen days. They come together for prayers, meditation sessions, holy reading etc. This period gives the New Year an auspicious beginning.
- Race Unity Day – June 14, 2015 (Sunday) – This is commemorated on the second Sunday of the month of June each year. This is a day to promote racial harmony, peace and understanding. This is in keeping with the Baha’i faith that these ingredients are essential for human integrity and unity. This tradition was started in the year 1957 in the United States by the Baha’is living in the country.
- World Religion Day – January 18, 2015 (Sunday) – Commemorated on the third Sunday of January each year this day is devoted to the Unity of Religion. This observance is based on the faith that if there was an integrated World Religion, then it would be of great aid in solving the conflicts between man and man, and also would help to bring unity and spirit of brotherhood to the world. This day was introduced in 1950 mostly with the support of the Baha’is living in the United States.