This was written and published as a series of short features on the Facebook page.
In a couple of months time we will be fasting, and celebrating Naw-
What has changed with Naw-
The timing of Naw-
The length of a year, on both the Badí’ calendar and the Gregorian calendar, is based upon the amount of time it takes Earth to travel around the sun, but the two calendars use different systems to keep the calendars in sync with that journey. While the Gregorian calendar adjusts every four years (except when the year is divisible by 100 but not by 400) by adding an extra day to February, the Badí’ calendar aligns every year by starting on the day in which the March / Bahá equinox takes place – that is, the moment when the position of the sun relative to Earth moves northward over the equator, as observed from Tihran.
Because Bahá’u’lláh’s birthplace, Tihran, has been designated as the observation point for solar and lunar events associated with the Bahá’í calendar, the sunset to sunset period during which the equinox occurs in Tihran is designated as the first day of Naw-
At what time does Naw-
The Bahá’í festival of Naw-
Why have most Bahá'ís always celebrated Naw-
The designation of the location on Earth to be used as the observation point for the Bahá equinox, which is required to designate the day of Naw-
Is this change to Naw-
Bahá'u'lláh established four "great festivals" in the Bahá'í year. The two Most Great Festivals are Riḍván and The Declaration of the Báb. The other two great festivals are The Birth of Bahá'u'lláh and The Birth of the Báb.
On the Gregorian Calendar the dates of the births of Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb have been recorded as 12th November 1817 and 20th October 1819 respectively. On the traditional Hijri (Islamic) calendar these events occurred on 2nd Muharram 1233 and 1st Muharram 1235, two successive dates within the month of Muharram. Bahá'u'lláh stated that "These two days are accounted as one in the sight of God" and referred to them as the "twin days".
With the earlier implementation of the Badí' calendar in the West all Holy Days were observed on the Badí' calendar equivalent of the recorded Gregorian dates for the historical events they commemorated, while the Eastern Bahá'ís continued to use the Hijri calendar for these observances. Being a lunar calendar, the traditional Hijri calendar starts approximately 11 days earlier each year, so in the East the celebration of the Twin Birthdays moved throughout the entire year.
A letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi in November 1955 stated: "In the future, no doubt all of the Holy Days will follow the Solar calendar, and provisions be made as to how the Twin Festivals will be celebrated universally." The same letter clarifies that this decision would be left for the Universal House of Justice.
In their letter to the Bahá'ís of the World dated 14 July 2014, The Universal House of Justice, announced that the Twin Birthdays "will now be observed on the first and the second day following the occurrence of the eighth new moon after Naw-
In both 1817 and 1819, the years of Bahá'u'lláh's and the Báb's birth, the month of Muharram began with the eighth new moon after Naw-
Thus, the Twin Birthdays are now celebrated world-
In a letter written to all National Spiritual Assemblies on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, dated 3 September 2015, Shoghi Effendi is referenced as having stated that Bahá'ís should refrain from work and hold special gatherings on *both* of the twin holy days.
(The Universal House of Justice publishes tables to inform the Bahá'ís of the world when "the first and the second day following the occurrence of the eighth new moon after Naw-
Prior to the fuller implementation of the Badí calendar, the Bahá'í festival of Ayyám-
This year is a Gregorian leap year, but Ayyám-
The next time that a 5 day Ayyám-
In previous posts we have explored how the day of Naw-
Prior to the common implementation of the Badí' calendar last year, there were two different traditions for the celebration of Naw-
To briefly recap, the Bahá'í festival of Naw-
Thus the changes to when we break the Fast and celebrate Naw-
For everybody: The Fast will now always last a full 19 days (from sunrise to sunset)
For most western Bahá'ís: The only significant changes are the dates on which 'Alá' (the month of fasting) starts and ends.
For Bahá'ís in Iran: The Bahá'í festival of Naw-
For Iranian Bahá'ís elsewhere in the world: Bahá'ís with strong Iranian roots who live west of Tehran will now find that they are authoritatively obliged to sometimes fast beyond the moment of the Bahá (March) equinox and the start of the Iranian new year. However, this is not going to happen for many people this year or next year, the first year in which this will be obvious is 175 B.E. (2018) when the equinox will take place approximately one and a half hours after sunset on 20 March in Tehran, thus making Naw-