Sen's daily

July 11, 2014

Decisions affecting the implementation of the Badi` calendar as of Ridvan 2015

Editorial, July 10

The Universal House of Justice, the international governing body of the Bahai community, has released a letter detailing three decisions that will allow for the uniform implementation of the Bahai calendar (known as the Badi` calendar) in countries that have solar and lunar calendars, with effect from March 21, 2015.

The first decision is that Tehran “will be the spot on the earth that will serve as the standard for determining, … the moment of the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere and thereby the day of Naw-Ruz for the Baha’i world.” The equinox occurs when the planet, in its orbit around the sun, reaches the point at which its poles incline neither towards nor away from the sun, with the result that the northern and southern hemispheres are equally illuminated. At that precise moment, the time of day or night differs around the globe (as at any astronomical moment). It may be noon in one country, and past nightfall in another country. In the Kitab-e Aqdas, Baha’u’llah states that “The Festival of Naw-Ruz falleth on the day that the sun entereth the sign of Aries [that is, at the moment of the equinox], even should this occur no more than one minute before sunset.” The ruling of the House of Justice means that if the astronomical moment of equinox occurs before sunset in Tehran, on March 20, Bahais around the world will celebrate Naw Ruz on March 20. If the equinox occurs when the sun has already set in Tehran, they will celebrate Naw Ruz on March 21, and so on.

The second decision is that the birthdays of the Bab and Baha’u’llah will be celebrated on the “first and the second day following the occurrence of the eighth new moon after Naw-Ruz.” The Bab was born on 1 Muharram in 1819, and Baha’u’llah on 2 Muharram 1817, with the result that in countries that use the Islamic lunar calendar, the two Bahai holidays followed one another. In the past, Bahais in other countries have celebrated these holy days on October 20 and November 12. Henceforth, the “twin holy days” will be celebrated on two successive days, as a ‘movable feast,’ falling anywhere from mid-October to mid-November according to the Gregorian calendar. Next year, the two Holy Days will fall on November 13 and 14 (10 Qudrat and 11 Qudrat).

The third decision is to fix the dates for all remaining holy days in accordance with the Badi` calendar, rather than the Gregorian calendar. This follows from the first decision described above, but it also means that various historical questions, such as whether the Bab was in fact executed on July 8 or July 9, have been set aside. Whatever the findings of historians on such points may be, they will not affect the day on which the holy day is celebrated.

The full text of the letter from the Universal House of Justice is available in the documents archive of my Bahai Studies blog.

Short link:

Older items can be found in the archive, here. Even older news is here.



  1. what is the benefit of this change to the human race? if you can clarify and whether this change will accelerate entry by troops in the same way as ruhi, core activities and the cluster process are increasing Baha’i enrollment in the world!

    Comment by kubsha nubsha — August 23, 2014 @ 01:38 | Reply

    • So far as I am aware, increasing enrollments is not the purpose of the calendar changes. In brief, they mean that the Bahais in the East and West will in the future celebrate the twin holy days of the Birth of the Bab and the Birth of Baha’u’llah at the same time of year, and as two successive days, making it a great world-wide festival, just as Ridvan is a great festival for Bahais around the world. So we will have festive seasons in Spring and in Autumn. The change also means that the twin holy days will never fall in the Bahai Fast, as they did for the eastern Bahais in the past.

      Linking the date of Naw Ruz to the equinox in Tehran has the effect of showing that the Bahai Faith is not a western appendage (in the past the beginning of each Bahai Year was tied to the Gregorian calendar), that it really is born in Iran, and Iran is the Holy Land for Bahais. And it means that the Bahai community and the Persian community, in every country, will be celebrating Naw Ruz at the same time.

      Because the months in the Islamic lunar calendar begin with the sighting of a new moon, dates given in the Islamic calendar are always give-or-take a day, unless the person also says what day of the week it is. The moon might be sighted on one day in Tabriz, and the following day in Baghdad. This means that historical reports of certain events, such as the martyrdom of the Bab, do not agree as to the precise day. The third decision of the UHJ is that, in line with Abdu’l-Baha’s statements in some tablets, these events will be celebrated on days specified in the Bahai calendar. Since Naw Ruz will not necessarily fall on March 21, the Martyrdom of the Bab holy day is not necessarily on July 9th – it may be a day or two either way. So if, for example, the historical Martyrdom of the Bab was found conclusively to have occurred on what was July 8th in Europe, that will make no difference. We will celebrate it on Rahmat 17, regardless of any “discrepancies in the historical record.”

      Comment by Sen — August 23, 2014 @ 12:05 | Reply

  2. One might pause a moment to consider the purpose of entry by troops. It is not just to increase one’s own local community. It is for that community to also become part of a unified world. The Bab established a new calendar — and Baha’u’llah verified that we will follow that one — so that all the world will be on the same timescale. We could not just adopt any existing calendar because people whose calendar was rejected might claim a cultural bias in the faith comparable to the one mentioned in the comment above this one.

    The importance of all of us being on the same timescale is illustrated by an event during my time in Iran: I was there during the time that the House of the Bab could still be visited. We went there on July 8. I asked Mr. Afnan, the administrator of the House of the Bab, what sort of observance they would have for the Martyrdom of the Bab the next day. He answered, “Oh, we observed that weeks ago!” Then he invited us to come back so that we could offer prayers there in the day we would have been observing it.

    This happened because the Moslem world operates on the Moslem lunar calendar, and the Baha’is in Iran have observed holy days on the date of their calendar on which the event occurred. Western Baha’is have observed these days on the date of the Gregorian calendar on which the event occurred. In the year that the event occurred, those two dates referred to the same day. In the following that date occurred about 11 days sooner on the Moslem calendar than on the Gregorian calendar. The year after, the two days were about 22 days apart. It was more than 30 years before the two dates occurred even close to the same day. This happens because the lunar calendar is not associated with the sun in any way — only with the movements of the moon — so it is about 11 days shorter than a solar calendar. Thus, you can see, at the international level a lot of confusion occurs. Having all of us operate officially on our own calendar will eliminate such confusions and assist in the building of the world unity which is the basic thing we are building by entry of troops. Thus the two activities are both integral to the growth of the New World Order.

    On the Gregorian calendar Easter occurs on different days each year because it is keyed to the movements of the moon. The Badi calendar is also a solar calendar, but the Twin Festival of the births of the Bab and Baha’u’llah will shift on the Badi calendar in a manner similar to the way Easter shifts on the Gregorian calendar because that Twin Festival is, like Easter, keyed to the movements of the moon.

    Comment by joan — October 21, 2014 @ 22:27 | Reply

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