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1 Bahá
(21 March 2019 / 20 March 2020)

There is no historical story associated with Naw-Rúz, its symbolism largely revolves around the moment of the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere, as observed - for purposes of the calendar - from the city of Bahá’u’lláh’s birth (see here for more about how the first day of the year is determined)

In the Persian Bayán the Báb, the inaugurator of the Badí’ calendar, revealed  the symbolic nature of the first day, and first month, of the year, likening it to the place of the Manifestation of God, initially in His own dispensation, with the eighteen Letters of the Living who were the first to recognise the Báb’s station being associated with each remaining day of the first month, and thereafter the first day of the year, the day of Bahá in the month of Bahá, is assigned as the throne of Bahá’u’lláh in the calendar (Him Whom God shall make manifest).

In the following extract from the Bayán, the titles ‘Point’ and ‘Person of the Seven Letters’ refer to the Báb (whose name, Ali Muhammad, in Arabic contains seven letters).

…[the Lord of the Universe] hath called the first month Bahá’ and the last ‘Alá'…

And the first month is the month of the ‘Point,’ and around it revolve the months of ‘the Living’; and it is like unto the sun amidst the months, the other months being like mirrors wherein shineth forth the light of that month, and wherein naught is seen save that month. And it hath been named by the Lord the month of Bahá' in this sense, that the brightness of all the months is in that month. And [God] hath set it apart for ‘Him Whom God shall make manifest’, and hath assigned every day of it to one of the ‘Letters of the Living’. And the first day [thereof], which is the Naw-Rúz, is the day of ‘there is no god but God’; the like of that day is as the ‘Point’ in the Bayán, from which all are created, and unto which all return. And He hath made the manifestation thereof in the ‘Point of the Bayán’, the ‘Person of the Seven Letters’, and hath made it the throne of ‘Him Whom God shall make manifest’ in this manifestation.

In Star of the West, a newsletter the contents of which have not always been found to be authentic, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is quoted as saying the following about this occasion, likewise referring to Naw-Rúz as a symbol of the Manifestation of God :

From time immemorial this day has been consecrated for in this there is a symbol.

At this moment the sun appears at the meridian and the day and night are equal. Until today the North Pole has been in darkness. Today the sun appears on the horizon of the North Pole. Today the sun rises and sets at the equator and the two hemispheres are equally illumined. This sacred day, when the sun illumines equally the whole earth, is called the equinox, and the equinox is the symbol of the Manifestation of God. The Sun of Truth rises on the horizon of Divine Mercy and sends forth its rays. This day is consecrated to commemorate it. It is the beginning of spring. When the sun appears at the equinox, it causes a movement in all living things. The mineral world is set in motion, plants begin to shoot, the desert is changed into a prairie, trees bud and every living thing responds, including the bodies of animals and men.

The rising of the sun at the equinox is the symbol of life, and likewise it is the symbol of the Divine Manifestations of God, for the rising of the Sun of Truth in the Heaven of Divine Bounty established the signal of Life for the world. The human reality begins to live, our thoughts are transformed and our intelligence is quickened. The Sun of Truth bestows Eternal Life, just as the solar sun is the cause of terrestrial life.

The renewal of Naw-Rúz immediately follows the abstinence of the Bahá’í fast in the month of ‘Alá’, as reflected in the  following prayer revealed by Bahá’I’lláh for the occasion:

Praised be Thou, O my God, that Thou hast ordained Naw-Rúz as a festival unto those who have observed the Fast for love of Thee and abstained from all that is abhorrent unto thee.  Grant, O my Lord, that the fire of Thy love and the heat produced by the Fast enjoined by Thee may inflame them in Thy Cause, and make them to be occupied with Thy praise and with remembrance of Thee.

Since thou hast adorned them, O my Lord, with the ornament of the Fast prescribed by Thee, do Thou adorn them also with the ornament of Thine acceptance, through Thy grace and bountiful favour.  For the doings of men are all dependent upon Thy good-pleasure, and are conditioned by Thy behest.  Shouldst Thou regard him who hath broken the Fast as one who hath observed it, such a man would be reckoned among them who from eternity had been keeping the Fast.  And shouldst Thou decree that he who hath observed the Fast hath broken it, that person would be numbered with such as have caused the Robe of Thy Revelation to be stained with dust, and been far removed from the crystal waters of this living Fountain.

Thou art He through Whom the ensign “Praiseworthy art Thou in Thy works” hath been lifted up, and the standard “Obeyed art Thou in Thy behest” hath been unfurled.  Make known this Thy station, O my God, unto Thy servants, that they may be made aware that the excellence of all things is dependent upon Thy bidding and Thy word, and the virtue of every act is conditioned by Thy leave and the good pleasure of Thy will, and may recognize that the reins of men's doings are within the grasp of Thine acceptance and Thy commandment.  Make this known unto them, that nothing whatsoever may shut them out from Thy Beauty, in these days whereon the Christ exclaimeth: “All dominion is Thine, O Thou the Begetter of the Spirit (Jesus)”; and Thy Friend (Muhammad) crieth out: “Glory be to Thee, O Thou the Best-Beloved, for that Thou hast uncovered Thy Beauty, and written down for Thy chosen ones what will cause them to attain unto the seat of the revelation of Thy Most Great Name, through which all the peoples have lamented except such as have detached themselves from all else except Thee, and set themselves towards Him Who is the Revealer of Thyself and the Manifestation of Thine attributes.”

He Who is Thy Branch and all Thy company, O my Lord, have broken this day their fast, after having observed it within the precincts of Thy court, and in their eagerness to please Thee.  Do Thou ordain for Him, and for them, and for all such as have entered Thy presence in those days all the good Thou didst destine in Thy Book.  Supply them, then, with that which will profit them, in both this life and in the life beyond.

Thou, in truth, art the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.