Baha’i Holiday Calendar 2016 is a comprehensive analysis of the observances and festivals that are commemorated by the people following the Baha’i religion. Before we delve into the observances and festivities, let us have a brief idea about the principals on which the Baha’i faith is pivoted.

This is a religion that was propagated by Bahá'u'lláh in the 19th century based on monotheistic principles. The aim of establishing this religion was to create unity among all human beings. Baha'i holidays are observed as per the Baha'i calendar. Now this calendar is a solar calendar that has 365 days just like the Gregorian calendar which is widely followed in the modern times. Additionally the Baha'i calendar also includes a Leap Year once in every four years when the number of days in the year is 366. However, the Baha'i calendar constitutes of nineteen months all of which have nineteen days. Apart from that there is also a provision that leaves room for some extra days that are termed as the ‘Intercalary Days’.  The Baha'i calendar system is termed as Badi’ – a term that literally means wondrous or unique. Time and again efforts have been made to relate the Badi’ calendar to the modern day calendar system as much as possible without deviating from the basic Baha'i principals. Apart from the Baha'i New Year celebrations, all the other observances of the Baha'i faith are generally pivoted around the people who have significantly contributed to shape the Baha'i religion. In a year, there are nine days that the people of Baha'i faith consider to be holy or auspicious. On these days they observe abstinence from work. Apart from that there are some other days which are held significant by the people of the Baha'i faith, but do not require to stay away from work. Additionally there is also a mandate to observe a fasting for a period of nineteen days.
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  Here is a calendar that marks the date of all the Baha’i celebrations and observances in the course of the year 2016 along with a brief description of what the day is all about –
  • Naw-Ruz (Baha'i New Year) -- March 20, 2016 (Sunday) – The day of the Vernal Equinox is observed as the first say as per the Baha'i calendar thereby marking it to be the Baha'i New Year. This is a joyous occasion that also marks the end to the nineteen days period of annual fasting. Naturally the day is celebrated with much joy and merriment. Prayers are observed. Apart from that fun and feasting bring out the gaiety of the occasion.

  • Festival of Ridvan -- April 20, 2016 (Wednesday) – This marks the celebration of Bahá'u'lláh commencing as the Prophet. This is celebrated for twelve days beginning from this day. During this period of time it is required for the people following the Baha'i religion to abstain from work.

  • Declaration of the Bab -- May 23, 2016 (Monday) – This day is considered to be one of the most important festivals by people observing the Baha'i faith. Baha'i people believe that it is on this day that the revered Bab revealed that He is the one who would bring the message of unity, peace and justice from God.

  • Ascension of the Baha'u'llah -- May 28, 2016 (Saturday) – This is the day in the year 1892 when the founder-prophet of the Baha'i religion, Baha'u'llah, died at 3am. He was aged seventy five at that time, and was living in exile in a house known as Bahji in the outskirts of Akka.

  • Martyrdom of the Bab -- July 09, 2016 (Saturday) – On this day in the year 1850 at noon, the prophet-herald of the Baha'i faith, Siyyid Ali Muhammed, was martyred. He was brutally killed before a firing squad after spending three years in imprisonment before that. His body was mercilessly dumped in the outskirts of the city from where his devote followers rescued it in the darkness of the night. The body, preserved in a wooden case, was kept in hiding at different places for a considerable period of time. Finally in the year 1909 'Abdu'l-Bahá could build a shrine on Mt. Carmel and the corpse was put to rest in peace.

  • Birth of the Bab – November 1, 2016 (Tuesday) – This is an auspicious day according to the people of the Baha'i faith since it commemorates the birth anniversary of Siyyid Ali Muhammad, a pioneer of the religion. On this day people are expected to refrain from work.

  • Birth of Baha'u'llah -- November 2, 2016 (Wednesday) – This is the holy day that marks the birth anniversary of Baha'u'llah, who was the founder Prophet of the faith. On this day people are expected to abstain from work.

  • Day of the Covenant – November 25, 2016 (Friday) – This day to mark the appointment of ‘Abdu’l-Baha,, the eldest son of Baha’u’llah, as the “Center of His Covenant”. However this day is not traditionally holy and abstinence from work is not required on this day. This is because of the fact that ‘Abdu’l-Baha was a very humble person and was contented to be his “Father’s Son”.

  • Ascension of 'Abdu'l-Baha – November 28, 2016 (Monday) – This day that marks the death anniversary of 'Abdu'l-Baha who was the eldest son of Baha'u'llah, and also took over as his successor. However this day is not traditionally holy and abstinence from work is not required on this day. This is because of the fact that ‘Abdu’l-Baha was a very humble person and was contented to be his “Father’s Son”.

Apart from the days mentioned above, there are three more observances that require special mention. These are –
  • The Nineteen Days of Fasting – March 2 (Wednesday) to March 20 (Sunday), 2016 – This is a period of nineteen days that is considered to be auspicious and holy by the people following the Baha'i faith. It is believed that this was introduced by Bahá'u'lláh himself. This period just precedes the Baha'i New Year. During this period Baha'is observe fasting and spend a lot of time praying and reading holy texts or listening to holy recitals. This is a period when they are trying to connect with the soul and aiming to grasp the deeper meaning of life. As this period ends in the Baha'i New Year, it gives a special significance to the New Year, when it seems that the Baha'is begin another 365 days with a rejuvenated soul.

  • Race Unity Day – June 12, 2016 (Sunday) – This day was introduced in the year 1957 by the people of Baha'i faith living in America to eradicate any racial discrimination.  

  • World Religion Day – January 17, 2016 (Sunday) – This is observed on the third Sunday of the month of January each year. This is a day that upholds the principle of Unity of Religion which is again based on the belief that there exists a World Religion integrating all beliefs and encompassing the entire human race. This day was first observed in the year 1950 mainly due to the enthusiasm of the Baha'is living in America. Baha'is believe that with a World Religion there would prevail a sense on Universal Brotherhood thereby bringing Universal Peace.