Bahá'í calendar

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The Bahá'í Calendar, also called the Badíʿ Calendar (Badíʿ means wondrous or unique), [1] is a solar calendar with years composed of 19 months of 19 days each (361 days) plus an extra period of "Intercalary Days". Years begin at Naw-Rúz, on the day of the vernal equinox in Tehran, Iran, coinciding with March 20 or 21.

A solar calendar is a calendar whose dates indicate the season or almost equivalently the apparent position of the Sun relative to the stars. The Gregorian calendar, widely accepted as standard in the world, is an example of a solar calendar. The main other type of calendar is a lunar calendar, whose months correspond to cycles of Moon phases. The months of the Gregorian calendar do not correspond to cycles of Moon phase.

Intercalation or embolism in timekeeping 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.

Naw-Rúz is the first day of the Bahá'í calendar year and one of nine holy days for adherents of the Bahá'í Faith. It occurs on the vernal equinox, on or near March 21.


The first year is dated from 21 March 1844  CE, the year during which the Báb proclaimed his religion. [2] Years are annotated with the date notation of BE (Bahá'í Era),

Common Era (CE) is one of the notation systems for the world's most widely used calendar era. BCE is the era before CE. BCE and CE are alternatives to the Dionysian BC and AD system respectively. The Dionysian era distinguishes eras using AD and BC. Since the two notation systems are numerically equivalent, "2019 CE" corresponds to "AD 2019" and "400 BCE" corresponds to "400 BC". Both notations refer to the Gregorian calendar. The year-numbering system used by the Gregorian calendar is used throughout the world today, and is an international standard for civil calendars.

Báb Iranian prophet and founder of the religion Bábism, venerated in the Baháí Faith

The Báb, born Siyyid `Alí Muhammad Shírází was the founder of Bábism, and one of the central figures of the Bahá'í Faith.

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. There are many different calendar eras.

The year 176 BE started on the day of the vernal equinox (in Tehran) in 2019, that is on 21 March 2019.


The Bahá'í Calendar started from the original Badíʿ Calendar, created by the Báb in the Kitabu'l-Asmá' [3] and the Persian Bayán (5:3) in the 1840s. [4] An early version of the calendar began to be implemented during his time. [5] It used a scheme of 19 months of 19 days (19×19) for 361 days, plus intercalary days to make the calendar a solar calendar. The first day of the early implementation of the calendar year was Nowruz, [6] while the intercalary days were assigned differently than the later Bahá'í implementation. The calendar contains many symbolic meanings and allusions [7] including connections to prophecies of the Báb about the next Manifestation of God termed He whom God shall make manifest. [8]

<i>Kitabul-Asmá</i> Religious text by the Báb

The Kitabu'l-Asmá' or Book of Divine Names is a book written by the Báb, the founder of Bábi religion, in Arabic during his imprisonment in Máh-Kú and Chihriq in Iran (1847-1850). With a total volume of more than 3,000 pages, it is the largest revealed scripture in religious history. At least twenty-six manuscripts exist, and much of the text has not yet been located. Some extracts are available in English in the volume Selections from the Writings of the Báb.

<i>Persian Bayán</i> text written by the Báb between 1847 and 1848, while imprisoned in Maku; states that he is the Twelfth Imam and the Mahdi, and abrogates the Islamic law

The Persian Bayán is one of the principal scriptural writings of the Báb, the founder of Bábi religion, written in Persian. The Báb also wrote a shorter book in Arabic, known as the Arabic Bayán.

Nowruz Day of new year in the Persian and Zoroastrian calendars

Nowruz is the Iranian New Year, also known as the Persian New Year, which is celebrated worldwide by various ethno-linguistic groups.

Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, who claimed to be the one prophesied by the Báb, confirmed and adopted this calendar. Around 1870, he instructed Nabíl-i-A`zam, the author of The Dawn-Breakers , to write an overview of the Badíʿ calendar. [9] In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (1873) Bahá'u'lláh made Naw-Rúz the first day of the year, and also clarified the position of the Intercalary days to immediately precede the last month. [4] [10] Bahá'u'lláh set Naw-Rúz to the day on which the sun passes into the constellation Aries. Bahá'ís interpret this formula as a specification of the vernal equinox, though where that should be determined was not defined. [10]

Baháulláh Founder of the Baháí Faith

Bahá'u'lláh, born Mírzá Ḥusayn-`Alí Núrí, was a Persian religious leader, and the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, which advocates universal peace and unity among all races, nations, and religions.

Mullá Muḥammad-i-Zarandí, more commonly known as Nabíl-i-A’ẓam or Nabíl-i-Zarandí, was an eminent Bahá'í historian during the time of Bahá'u'lláh, and one of the nineteen Apostles of Bahá'u'lláh. He is most famous for authoring The Dawn-Breakers, which stands out as one of the most important and extensive accounts of the ministry of the Báb.

The Dawn-Breakers: Nabíl’s Narrative of the Early Days of the Bahá’í Revelation or Nabíl's Narrative (Táríkh-i-Nabíl) is a historical account of the early Bábí and Bahá'í Faiths written in Persian by Nabíl-i-A`zam in 1887–88. The English translation by Shoghi Effendi was published in 1932.

The calendar was first implemented in the West in 1907. [11]

The Bahá'í scriptures left some issues regarding the implementation of the Badíʿ calendar to be resolved by the Universal House of Justice before the calendar can be observed uniformly worldwide.

On 10 July 2014 the Universal House of Justice announced provisions that will enable the common implementation of the Badíʿ calendar worldwide, beginning at sunset 20 March 2015, [12] coinciding with the completion of the ninth cycle of the calendar (see below). [13] Before that time, the Bahá'í Calendar was synchronized to the Gregorian calendar by starting the year at sunset on March 20, regardless of when the vernal equinox technically occurs, meaning that the extra day of a leap year occurred simultaneously in both calendars. The intercalary days always stretched from 26 February to 1 March, automatically including the Gregorian leap day so that there were 4 intercalary days in a regular year, and 5 in a Gregorian leap year. [14] . The Universal House of Justice selected Tehran, the birthplace of Bahá'u'lláh, as the location at which the time and date of the vernal equinox is to be determined according to astronomical tables from reliable sources. [9] [12] [15] These changes, which "unlocked" the Badíʿ calendar from the Gregorian calendar, came into effect at of the start of year 172 BE. [9] [16]


As the name Badíʿ (wondrous or unique) suggests, the Bahá'í Calendar is indeed a unique institution in the history of human culture. Sociologist Eviatar Zerubavel notes that the 19-day cycle creates a distinctive rhythm which enhances group solidarity. (Zerubavel argues that the 19 day cycle is more properly defined as a week, rather than a month, because it bears "no connection whatsoever" to the lunar cycle.) Furthermore, by finding the closest approximation of the square root of the annual cycle, Bahá'ís "have managed to establish the most symmetrical relationship possible between the week and the year, which no one else throughout history has ever managed to accomplish." [17]


Years in the Bahá'í Calendar are counted from Thursday 21 March 1844, the beginning of the Bahá'í Era or Badíʿ Era (abbreviated BE or B.E.). [18] Year 1 BE thus began at sundown 20 March 1844.

The length of each year is strictly defined as the number of days between the opening and closing days of the year, with the number of intercalary days adjusted as needed. The year ends on the day before the following vernal equinox.

Vernal Equinox

The first day of each year (Naw-Rúz) is the day (from sunset to sunset) in Tehran containing the moment of the vernal equinox. This is determined in advance by astronomical computations from reliable sources. [12]

Since the Gregorian calendar is not tied to the equinox, the Gregorian calendar shifts around by a day or two each year, as shown in the following table. [19]

Bahá'í YearGregorian date
corresponding to Naw-Rúz
17420 March 2017
17521 March 2018
17621 March 2019
17720 March 2020
17820 March 2021
17921 March 2022
18021 March 2023
18120 March 2024
18220 March 2025
18321 March 2026
18421 March 2027


The Bahá'í Calendar is composed of 19 months, each with 19 days. [2] The intercalary days, known as Ayyám-i-Há, occur between the 18th and 19th months.

The names of the months were adopted by the Báb from the Du'ay-i-Sahar, a Ramadan dawn prayer by Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, the fifth Imam of Twelver Shi'ah Islam. [20] [21] These month names are considered to be referring to attributes of God.

In the Persian Bayan the Báb divides the months into four groups known as "fire", "air", "water" and "earth" - which are three, four, six and six months long respectively. [22] Robin Mirshahi suggests a possible link with four realms described in Bahá'í cosmology. [7]

In the following table, the Gregorian date indicates the first full day of the month when Naw-Rúz coincides with 21 March. The month begins at sunset of the day previous to the one listed.

MonthUsual Gregorian dates
(when Naw-Rúz coincides with 21 March) [2]
Arabic name [2] Arabic scriptEnglish name [2] Additional meanings in authorized English translations of Bahá'í scripture [7]
121 March
– 8 April
BaháبهاءSplendourglory, light, excellence
29 April
– 27 April
328 April
– 16 May
417 May
– 4 June
‘AẓamatعظمةGrandeurglory, majesty, dominion, greatness
55 June
– 23 June
NúrنورLightradiance, brightness, splendour, effulgence, illumination
624 June
– 12 July
RaḥmatرحمةMercyblessing, grace, favour, loving kindness, providence, compassion
713 July
– 31 July
KalimátكلماتWordsutterance, the word of God
81 August
– 19 August
KamálكمالPerfectionexcellence, fullness, consummation, maturity
920 August
– 7 September
Asmá’اسماءNamestitles, attributes, designations
108 September
– 26 September
‘IzzatعزةMightglory, power, exaltation, honour, majesty, grandeur, strength, sovereignty, magnificence
1127 September
– 15 October
MashíyyatمشيةWillpurpose, the primal will, the will of God
1216 October
– 3 November
‘Ilm علمKnowledgewisdom, divine knowledge, revelation
134 November
– 22 November
QudratقدرةPowermight, authority, dominion, celestial might, omnipotence, transcendent power, indomitable strength, all-pervading power, ascendancy, divine power
1423 November
– 11 December
QawlقولSpeechwords, testimony
1512 December
– 30 December
Masá’ilمسائلQuestionsprinciples, truths, matters, mysteries, subtleties, obscurities, intricacies, problems
1631 December
– 18 January
SharafشرفHonourexcellence, glory
1719 January
– 6 February
SulṭánسلطانSovereigntyking, lord, majesty, sovereign, monarch, authority, potency, the power of sovereignty, the all-possessing, the most potent of rulers
187 February
– 25 February
MulkملكDominionsovereignty, kingdom, realm, universe
26 February
– 1 March
Ayyám-i-Há ايام الهاءThe Days of Há
192 March
– 20 March
(Month of fasting)


The introduction of intercalation marked an important break from Islam, as under the Islamic calendar the practice of intercalation had been specifically prohibited in the Qur'an. [4]

The number of the intercalary days is determined in advance to ensure that the year ends on the day before the next vernal equinox. This results in 4 or 5 intercalary days being added. These days are inserted between the 18th and 19th months, falling around the end of February in the Gregorian calendar. The number of days added is unrelated to the timing of the Gregorian leap year.

Significance in the Bahá'í Faith

The annual Nineteen Day Fast is held during the final month of ‘Alá’. The month of fasting is followed by Naw-Rúz, the new year.

The monthly Nineteen Day Feast is celebrated on the first day of each month, preferably starting any time between the sunset on the eve of the day to the sunset ending the day.

Days in a Month

The nineteen days in a month have the same names as the months of the year (above), so, for example, the 9th day of each month is Asmá, or "Names".


The Bahá'í week starts on Saturday, and ends on Friday. [23] Like Judaism and Islam, days begin at sunset and end at sunset of the following solar day. Bahá'í writings indicate that Friday is to be kept as a day of rest. [24] [25] The practice of keeping Friday as a day of rest is currently not observed in all countries; for example, in the UK, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís confirmed it does not currently keep this practice. [26]

Arabic Name [2] Arabic ScriptEnglish Translation [23] Day of the Week [2]


Also existing in the Bahá'í Calendar system is a 19 year cycle called Váḥid and a 361 year (19×19) supercycle called Kull-i-Shay’ (literally, "All Things"). [23] Each of the 19 years in a Vahid has been given a name as shown in the table below. [23]

The 10th Váḥid of the 1st Kull-i-Shay' started on 21 March 2015, and the 11th Váḥid will begin in 2034. [27]

The current Bahá'í year, year 176 BE (21 March 2019 – 20 March 2020), is year Báb (Gate) of the 10th Váḥid of the 1st Kull-i-Shay'. [27] The 2nd Kull-i-Shay' will begin in 2205. [27]

The concept of a 19-year cycle has existed in some form since the 4th century  BCE. The Metonic cycle 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 NameArabic ScriptEnglish Translation
18AbháابهىMost Luminous

See also

Related Research Articles

A leap year is a calendar year containing an additional day added to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year. Because seasons and astronomical events do not repeat in a whole number of days, calendars that have the same number of days in each year drift over time with respect to the event that the year is supposed to track. By inserting an additional day or month into the year, the drift can be corrected. A year that is not a leap year is called a common year.

Riḍván is a twelve-day festival in the Bahá'í Faith, commemorating Bahá'u'lláh's declaration that he was a Manifestation of God. In the Bahá'í Calendar, it begins at sunset on the 13th of Jalál, which translates to the 20th or 21st of April, depending on the date of the March equinox. On the first, ninth and twelfth days of Ridván, work and school should be suspended.

Letters of the Living Title given by the Báb to his first eighteen disciples

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Shrine of the Báb Tomb of the founder of the Bábí Faith in Haifa, Israel

The Shrine of the Báb is a structure in Haifa, Israel where the remains of the Báb, founder of the Bábí Faith and forerunner of Bahá'u'lláh in the Bahá'í Faith, have been buried; it is considered to be the second holiest place on Earth for Bahá'ís, after the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh in Acre. Its precise location on Mount Carmel was designated by Bahá'u'lláh himself to his eldest son, `Abdu'l-Bahá, in 1891. `Abdu'l-Bahá planned the structure, which was designed and completed several years later by his grandson, Shoghi Effendi.

March equinox the equinox on the earth when the Sun appears to leave the southern hemisphere and cross the celestial equator

The March equinox or Northward equinox is the equinox on the Earth when the subsolar point appears to leave the Southern Hemisphere and cross the celestial equator, heading northward as seen from Earth. The March equinox is known as the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and as the autumnal equinox in the Southern.

Badí' was the title of Mírzá Áqá Buzurg-i-Nishapuri, also known by the title the Pride of Martyrs. He was the son of `Abdu'l-Majid-i-Nishapuri, a follower of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh.

Bahá'í laws are laws and ordinances used in the Bahá'í Faith and are a fundamental part of Bahá'í practice. The laws are based on authenticated texts from Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, and also includes subsequent interpretations from `Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi, and legislation by the Universal House of Justice. Bahá'í law is presented as a set of general principles and guidelines and individuals must apply them as they best seem fit. While some of the social laws are enforced by Bahá'í institutions, the emphasis is placed on individuals following the laws based on their conscience, understanding and reasoning, and Bahá'ís are expected to follow the laws for the love of Bahá'u'lláh. The laws are seen as the method of the maintenance of order and security in the world.

Bahá'í history is often traced through a sequence of leaders, beginning with the Báb's declaration in Shiraz on the evening of May 22, 1844, and ultimately resting on an Administrative Order established by the central figures of the religion. The religion had its background in two earlier movements in the nineteenth century, Shaykhism and Bábism. Shaykhism centred on theosophical doctrines and many Shaykhis expected the return of the hidden Twelfth Imam. Many Shaykhis joined the messianic Bábí movement in the 1840s where the Báb proclaimed himself to be the return of the hidden Imam. As the Bábí movement spread in Iran, violence broke out between the ruling Shi'a Muslim government and the Bábís, and ebbed when government troops massacred them, and executed the Báb in 1850.

Bahá'í literature, like the literature of many religions, covers a variety of topics and forms, including scripture and inspiration, interpretation, history and biography, introduction and study materials, and apologia. Sometimes considerable overlap between these forms can be observed in a particular text.

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 person closer to God. The fast was instituted by the Báb, and accepted by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, who stated its rules in his book of laws, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. The nineteen days of fasting occur immediately before the beginning of the Bahá'í New Year, on the vernal equinox.

The Bahá'í Faith has eleven holy days, which are important anniversaries in the history of the religion. On nine of these holy days, work is suspended. There is no fixed format for any of the holy days, and Bahá’í communities organize their own commemorative meetings.

Ayyám-i-Há refers to a period of intercalary days in the Bahá'í calendar, when Bahá'ís celebrate the Festival of Ayyám-i-Há. The four or five days of this period are inserted between the last two months of the calendar. The length of Ayyám-i-Há varies according to the timing of the following vernal equinox so that the next year always starts on the vernal equinox.

Birth of Baháulláh Baháí religious observance; birthday of Baháulláh

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. The 2017 date is October 22.

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 the 4th day of Speech (Qawl) which coincides with either November 25 or 26 depending on when Naw Ruz falls on that year. The 2016 date is November 25.

Maid of Heaven refers to a vision that Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith was said to have had of a maiden from God, through whom he received his mission as a Manifestation of God.

Zoroastrianism is recognized in the Bahá'í Faith as one of nine known religions and its scriptures are regarded as predicting the coming of Bahá'u'lláh. Zoroaster is included in the succession of Manifestations of God. The authenticity of the Zend Avesta is seen as uncertain.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and a topical guide to the Bahá'í Faith.

The Festivals of the Twin Birthdays or the Twin Holy Birthdays refers to two successive holy days in the Bahá'í Calendar that celebrate the births of two central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. The two holy days are the birth of the Báb on the first day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar and the birth of Bahá'u'lláh on the second day of Muharram.


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  3. Lambden, Stephen (2018). Kitab al-asma' – The Book of Names . Lambden states that the "source did not, however, give precise details about where the calendral materials were located in the Kitab al-asma'."
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  7. 1 2 3 Mihrshahi, Robin (2013). A Wondrous New Day: The Numerology of Creation and 'All Things' in the Badíʿ Calendar .
  8. Mihrshahi, Robin (2004) [1991]. "Symbolism in the Badíʿ Calendar". Baha'i Studies Review. 12 (1). doi:10.1386/bsre.12.1.15 (inactive 2019-08-20). ISSN   1354-8697 . Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  9. 1 2 3 Momen, Moojan (2014). The Badí` (Bahá'í) Calendar: An Introduction.
  10. 1 2 Universal House of Justice (1992). Notes of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. pp. 178–179. ISBN   978-0-85398-999-8..
  11. Cameron, Glenn; Momen, Wendy (1996). A Basic Bahá'í Chronology. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. p. 165. ISBN   978-0-85398-404-7.
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  13. Nakhjavani, Ali (January 2015). "The ninth cycle of the Bahá'í Calendar". The American Bahá'í: 23–27.
  14. Smith, Peter (2000). "Ayyám-i-Há". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 53. ISBN   978-1-85168-184-6.
  15. For calculating the dates, data provided by HM Nautical Almanac Office in the United Kingdom is used by the Bahá'í World Centre. The World Geodetic System 1984 is used to determine the point of reference for Tehran.
  16. Purushotma, Shastri Baha'is to Implement New Calendar Worldwide . Huffington Post. 2014-14-07.
  17. Zerubavel, Eviatar (1985). The Seven-Day Circle . New York: The Free Press. pp. 48–50. ISBN   978-0029346808.
  18. Curtis, Larry (2004-03-06). "A Day in the Bahá'í Calendar". Archived from the original on 2 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-24.
  19. Bahá'í Dates 172 to 221 B.E. (2015 – 2065; prepared by the Baha'i World Centre) (pdf)
  20. Taherzadeh, A. (1976). The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume 1: Baghdad 1853–63. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. pp. 116–7. ISBN   978-0-85398-270-8.
  21. Stephen N. Lambden. The Du'á Sahar or Supplication of Glory-Beauty (al-bahá')
  22. Saiedi, Nader (2008). Gate of the Heart: Understanding the Writings of the Báb. Canada: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. pp. 327–328. ISBN   978-1-55458-056-9.
  23. 1 2 3 4 Effendi, Shoghi (1950). The Bahá'í Faith: 1844–1950. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Committee.
  24. "Letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer". Bahá'í News (162, April 1943): 5. 1939-07-10. In Effendi, Shoghi; Bahá'u'llah; 'Abdu'l-Bahá; The Universal House of Justice (1983). Hornby, Helen (ed.). Lights of Guidance: A Bahá'í Reference File. New Delhi, India: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. p. 109. ISBN   978-81-85091-46-4 . Retrieved 2009-03-15. III. Bahá'í: E. Miscellaneous Subjects: 372. Friday is Day of Rest in Bahá'í Calendar.
  25. Bellenir, Karen (2004). Religious Holidays and Calendars: An Encyclopedic Handbook (3rd ed.). Omnigraphics. p. 154. ISBN   978-0-7808-0665-8.
  26. National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United Kingdom. Letter from the NSA to the Bahá’í Council for Wales Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  27. 1 2 3 Bolhuis, Arjen (2006-03-23). "The first Kull-i-Shay' of the Bahá'í Era" . Retrieved 2006-09-23.

Further reading

Primary sources

Secondary sources