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The Badíʻ calendar used in the Baháʼí Faith is a solar calendar consisting of 19 months and 4-5 Intercalary Days, with new year at the northern spring equinox. Each month is named after virtues (e.g. Perfection, Mercy), as are the days of the week. The first year is dated from 1844 CE, the year in which the Báb began teaching.
Years on the calendar are annotated with the date notation of BE (Baháʼí Era). The Baháʼí year 178 BE will start on 20 March 2021.
The Baháʼí calendar started from the original Badíʿ calendar, created by the Báb in the Kitabu'l-Asmáʼ and the Persian Bayán (5:3) in the 1840s. An early version of the calendar began to be implemented during his time. 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, while the intercalary days were assigned differently than the later Baháʼí implementation. The calendar contains many symbolic meanings and allusions including connections to prophecies of the Báb about the next Manifestation of God termed He whom God shall make manifest.
Baháʼu'lláh, the founder of the Baháʼí Faith, who claimed to be the one prophesied by the Báb, confirmed and adopted this calendar. Around 1870, he instructed Nabíl-i-Aʻzam, the author of The Dawn-Breakers, to write an overview of the Badíʿ calendar. In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (1873) Baháʼu'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. Baháʼu'lláh set Naw-Rúz to the day on which the sun passes into the constellation Aries. Baháʼís interpret this formula as a specification of the vernal equinox, though where that should be determined was not defined.
The calendar was first implemented in the West in 1907.
The Baháʼí 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, coinciding with the completion of the ninth cycle of the calendar (see below). Before that time, the Baháʼí 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. The Universal House of Justice selected Tehran, the birthplace of Baháʼu'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. These changes, which "unlocked" the Badíʿ calendar from the Gregorian calendar, came into effect at the start of year 172 BE.
As the name Badíʿ (wondrous or unique) suggests, the Baháʼí 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, Baháʼís "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."
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.
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.
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.
|Baháʼí Year||Gregorian date
corresponding to Naw-Rúz
|174||20 March 2017|
|175||21 March 2018|
|176||21 March 2019|
|177||20 March 2020|
|178||20 March 2021|
|179||21 March 2022|
|180||21 March 2023|
|181||20 March 2024|
|182||20 March 2025|
|183||21 March 2026|
|184||21 March 2027|
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 Shiʻah Islam. 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. Robin Mirshahi suggests a possible link with four realms described in Baháʼí cosmology. Ismael Velasco relatest this to the "arc of ascent".
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.
|Month||Usual Gregorian dates
(when Naw-Rúz coincides with 21 March)
|Arabic name ||Arabic script||English name ||Additional meanings in authorized English translations of Baháʼí scripture |
– 8 April
|Bahá||بهاء||Splendour||glory, light, excellence|
– 27 April
– 16 May
– 4 June
|ʻAẓamat||عظمة||Grandeur||glory, majesty, dominion, greatness|
– 23 June
|Núr||نور||Light||radiance, brightness, splendour, effulgence, illumination|
– 12 July
|Raḥmat||رحمة||Mercy||blessing, grace, favour, loving kindness, providence, compassion|
– 31 July
|Kalimát||كلمات||Words||utterance, the word of God|
– 19 August
|Kamál||كمال||Perfection||excellence, fullness, consummation, maturity|
– 7 September
|Asmáʼ||اسماء||Names||titles, attributes, designations|
– 26 September
|ʻIzzat||عزة||Might||glory, power, exaltation, honour, majesty, grandeur, strength, sovereignty, magnificence|
– 15 October
|Mas͟híyyat||مشية||Will||purpose, the primal will, the will of God|
– 3 November
|ʻIlm||علم||Knowledge||wisdom, divine knowledge, revelation|
– 22 November
|Qudrat||قدرة||Power||might, authority, dominion, celestial might, omnipotence, transcendent power, indomitable strength, all-pervading power, ascendancy, divine power|
– 11 December
– 30 December
|Masáʼil||مسائل||Questions||principles, truths, matters, mysteries, subtleties, obscurities, intricacies, problems[note 1]|
– 18 January
– 6 February
|Sulṭán||سلطان||Sovereignty||king, lord, majesty, sovereign, monarch, authority, potency, the power of sovereignty, the all-possessing, the most potent of rulers|
– 25 February
|Mulk||ملك||Dominion||sovereignty, kingdom, realm, universe|
– 1 March
|Ayyám-ul Há||ايام الهاء||The Days of Há|
– 20 March
(Month of fasting)
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 Baháʼí Faith
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 Baháʼí week starts on Saturday, and ends on Friday. Like Judaism and Islam, days begin at sunset and end at sunset of the following solar day. Baháʼí writings indicate that Friday is to be kept as a day of rest. 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 Baháʼís confirmed it does not currently keep this practice.
|Arabic Name||Arabic Script||English Translation||Day of the Week|
Also existing in the Baháʼí calendar system is a 19 year cycle called Váḥid and a 361 year (19×19) supercycle called Kull-i-S͟hayʼ (literally, "All Things"). Each of the 19 years in a Vahid has been given a name as shown in the table below.
The 10th Váḥid of the 1st Kull-i-S͟hayʼ started on 21 March 2015, and the 11th Váḥid will begin in 2034.
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 Name||Arabic Script||English Translation|
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