- Baha’is believe in the power of prayer and you’ll find Baha’is and their friends, throughout the world, getting together to pray. This is often referred to as a ‘devotional gathering’ or ‘devotional meeting’, and they happen in diverse settings, whether in cities or villages.
The recent letter from the Universal House of Justice about the worldwide adoption of the Badi Calendar has generated a lot of questions and excitement, so we thought it would be a good time to provide a general overview of this unique calendar.
Are the Badi Calendar and the Baha’i Calendar the same thing?
Absolutely. The Baha’i Era began with the Declaration of the Bab. He delineated a new calendar to mark its passage of time and to set a pattern of community life and He named it the Badi Calendar. Badi means “to create anew” as well as “wondrous” and “unique” in Arabic. Baha’u’llah later approved and elucidated on the Badi Calendar. 1
What is the history of the Badi Calendar?
The details of the Badi Calendar were first set forth in the Persian Bayan. Baha’u’llah confirmed its validity in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, clarified that the last month of year is a month of fasting and that it concluded with a festivity that inaugurates a new year. He also stated that the calendar begin – in terms of counting years, not in terms of determining the new year’s day – with the Declaration of the Bab.
How is the calendar structured?
The Badi Calendar is a solar calendar and like many other calendars, it has days, months and years:
As with the Gregorian calendar, a week in the Badi calendar has 7 days. They are:
- Jalal (Glory) — this day corresponds with the Gregorian Saturday
- Jamal (Beauty) – Sunday
- Kamal (Perfection) – Monday
- Fidal (Grace) – Tuesday
- Idal (Justice) – Wednesday
- Istijlal (Majesty) – Thursday
- Istiqlal (Independence) – Friday 2
The year is divided into 19 months of 19 days, with the Intercalary Days (Ayyam-i-Ha) of either 4 or 5 days occurring before the last month of the year. The months of the year are as follows:
- Baha (Splendour)
- Jalal (Glory)
- Jamal (Beauty)
- Azamat (Grandeur)
- Nur (Light)
- Rahmat (Mercy)
- Kalimat (Words)
- Kamal (Perfection)
- Asma (Names)
- Izzat (Might)
- Mashiyyat (Will)
- Ilm (Knowledge)
- Qudrat (Power)
- Qawl (Speech)
- Masa’il (Questions)
- Sharaf (Honour)
- Sultan (Sovereignty)
- Mulk (Dominion)
- Ala (Loftiness), the month of Fasting.
Each period of 19 years is called a “Vahid” and 19 Vahids are called a “Kull-i-Shay”. 3 In its letter, the beloved Universal House of Justice states that this year will conclude the 9th Vahid of the 1st Kull-i-Shay. It is an auspicious event.
Each year in a Vahid also has its own name. They are: Alif, Ba, Ab, Dal, Bab, Waw, Abad, Jad, Baha, Hubb, Bahdaj, Jawab, Ahad, Wahhab, Widad, Badi, Bahi, Abha and Wahid (or Vahid). 4
The Baha’i Holy Days fall on the following days of the Badi Calendar: Naw-Ruz, 1 Baha; the Festival of Ridvan, 13 Jalal to 5 Jamal; the Declaration of the Bab, 8 Azamat; the Ascension of Baha’u’llah, 13 Azamat; the Martyrdom of the Bab, 17 Rahmat; the Day of the Covenant, 4 Qawl; and the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha, 6 Qawl. These dates are fixed within the calendar and do not move – in other words, the Declaration of the Bab will always be joyously celebrated on 8 Azamat.
In contrast, there are Holy Days that move according to the movements of the moon. These Holy Days are the Birth of the Bab and the Birth of Baha’u’llah – which are also known as “The Twin Holy Days”. Beginning next year, they will be celebrated around the world in succession after the 8th new moon following Naw Ruz.
Up until this point, the Baha’is in the West observed these Holy Days according to the Gregorian calendar on October 20th and November 12th respectively and the Baha’is in the East celebrated them on the 1st and 2nd day of the Muslim month of Muharram. Beginning next year, we will all celebrate these special events at the same time.
In its letter about the universal implementation of the Badi Calendar, the Universal House of Justice also tells us of its legislation regarding when Naw-Ruz will occur. They write:
We have decided that Tihran, the birthplace of the Abha Beauty, will be the spot on the earth that will serve as the standard for determining, by means of astronomical computations from reliable sources, the moment of the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere and thereby the day of Naw-Ruz for the Baha’i world.
Up until now, the Badi Calendar has been temporarily tethered to the Gregorian calendar and all of its months have been fixed. With this exciting legislation, the Badi Calendar will begin with the astronomically accurate vernal equinox, the first day of spring, and the entire year will be celebrated accordingly.
Where can I find out more about the Badi Calendar?
Gerald Keil’s book Time and Baha’i Era: A Study of the Badi Calendar, which was published by George Ronald in 2008, is a fascinating and in-depth study of the subject.
Nineteenmonths.com is a wonderful website that showcases photographs from various Baha’i artists each Baha’i month. It can be a unique tool to mark the passage of time according to the Badi Calendar.
Enablemetogrow.com has a great post about teaching children the names of the months and it includes a poster, video and song.
The implications, the meaning and the significance of the Badi Calendar will further unfold over time but in its 10 July 2014 letter, the Universal House of Justice wrote these stirring words:
The adoption of a new calendar in each dispensation is a symbol of the power of Divine Revelation to reshape human perception of material, social, and spiritual reality. Through it, sacred moments are distinguished, humanity’s place in time and space reimagined, and the rhythm of life recast. Next Naw-Ruz will mark yet another historic step in the manifestation of the unity of the people of Baha and the unfoldment of Baha’u’llah’s World Order.
- Gerald Keil, Time and the Baha’i Era, p.73
- Ibid. p.111
- Ibid. p.96
- Ibid. p.103
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