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The Bahá'í Calendar, also called the Badíʿ Calendar (Badíʿ means wondrous or unique),[1] is a solar calendar with years composed of 19 months of 19 days each (361 days) plus an extra period of "Intercalary Days". Years begin at Naw-Rúz, on the day of the vernal equinox in Tehran, Iran, coinciding with March 20 or 21.

The first year is dated from 21 March 1844 CE, the year during which the Báb proclaimed his religion.[2] Years are annotated with the date notation of BE (Bahá'í Era),

The year 176 BE started on the day of the vernal equinox (in Tehran) in 2019, that is on 21 March 2019.


The Bahá'í Calendar started from the original Badíʿ Calendar, created by the Báb in the Kitabu'l-Asmá'[3] and the Persian Bayán (5:3) in the 1840s.[4] An early version of the calendar began to be implemented during his time.[5] 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,[6] while the intercalary days were assigned differently than the later Bahá'í implementation. The calendar contains many symbolic meanings and allusions[7] including connections to prophecies of the Báb about the next Manifestation of God termed He whom God shall make manifest.[8]

Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, who claimed to be the one prophesied by the Báb, confirmed and adopted this calendar. Around 1870, he instructed Nabíl-i-A`zam, the author of The Dawn-Breakers, to write an overview of the Badíʿ calendar.[9] In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (1873) Bahá'u'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.[4][10] Bahá'u'lláh set Naw-Rúz to the day on which the sun passes into the constellation Aries. Bahá'ís interpret this formula as a specification of the vernal equinox, though where that should be determined was not defined.[10]

The calendar was first implemented in the West in 1907.[11]

The Bahá'í 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,[12] coinciding with the completion of the ninth cycle of the calendar (see below).[13] Before that time, the Bahá'í 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.[14]. The Universal House of Justice selected Tehran, the birthplace of Bahá'u'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.[9][12][15] These changes, which "unlocked" the Badíʿ calendar from the Gregorian calendar, came into effect at of the start of year 172 BE.[9][16]


As the name Badíʿ (wondrous or unique) suggests, the Bahá'í 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, Bahá'ís "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."[17]


Years in the Bahá'í Calendar are counted from Thursday 21 March 1844, the beginning of the Bahá'í Era or Badíʿ Era (abbreviated BE or B.E.).[18] Year 1 BE thus began at sundown 20 March 1844.

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.

Vernal EquinoxEdit

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.[12]

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.[19]

Bahá'í 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 Bahá'í Calendar is composed of 19 months, each with 19 days.[2] The intercalary days, known as Ayyám-i-Há, occur between the 18th and 19th months.

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 Shi'ah Islam.[20][21] 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.[22] Robin Mirshahi suggests a possible link with four realms described in Bahá'í cosmology.[7]

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)[2]
Arabic name [2] Arabic script English name [2] Additional meanings in authorized English translations of Bahá'í scripture [7]
1 21 March
– 8 April
Bahá بهاء Splendour glory, light, excellence
2 9 April
– 27 April
Jalál جلال Glory majesty
3 28 April
– 16 May
Jamál جمال Beauty charm
4 17 May
– 4 June
‘Aẓamat عظمة Grandeur glory, majesty, dominion, greatness
5 5 June
– 23 June
Núr نور Light radiance, brightness, splendour, effulgence, illumination
6 24 June
– 12 July
Raḥmat رحمة Mercy blessing, grace, favour, loving kindness, providence, compassion
7 13 July
– 31 July
Kalimát كلمات Words utterance, the word of God
8 1 August
– 19 August
Kamál كمال Perfection excellence, fullness, consummation, maturity
9 20 August
– 7 September
Asmá’ اسماء Names titles, attributes, designations
10 8 September
– 26 September
‘Izzat عزة Might glory, power, exaltation, honour, majesty, grandeur, strength, sovereignty, magnificence
11 27 September
– 15 October
Mashíyyat مشية Will purpose, the primal will, the will of God
12 16 October
– 3 November
‘Ilm علم Knowledge wisdom, divine knowledge, revelation
13 4 November
– 22 November
Qudrat قدرة Power might, authority, dominion, celestial might, omnipotence, transcendent power, indomitable strength, all-pervading power, ascendancy, divine power
14 23 November
– 11 December
Qawl قول Speech words, testimony
15 12 December
– 30 December
Masá’il مسائل Questions principles, truths, matters, mysteries, subtleties, obscurities, intricacies, problems
16 31 December
– 18 January
Sharaf شرف Honour excellence, glory
17 19 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
18 7 February
– 25 February
Mulk ملك Dominion sovereignty, kingdom, realm, universe
26 February
– 1 March
Ayyám-i-Há ايام الهاء The Days of Há
19 2 March
– 20 March
(Month of fasting)
‘Alá’ علاء Loftiness glory


The introduction of intercalation marked an important break from Islam, as under the Islamic calendar the practice of intercalation had been specifically prohibited in the Qur'an.[4]

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 Bahá'í FaithEdit

The annual Nineteen Day Fast is held during the final month of ‘Alá’. The month of fasting is followed by Naw-Rúz, the new year.

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 MonthEdit

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 Bahá'í week starts on Saturday, and ends on Friday.[23] Like Judaism and Islam, days begin at sunset and end at sunset of the following solar day. Bahá'í writings indicate that Friday is to be kept as a day of rest.[24][25] 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 Bahá'ís confirmed it does not currently keep this practice.[26]

Arabic Name[2] Arabic Script English Translation[23] Day of the Week[2]
Jalál جلال Glory Saturday
Jamál جمال Beauty Sunday
Kamál كمال Perfection Monday
Fiḍál فضال Grace Tuesday
‘Idál عدال Justice Wednesday
Istijlál استجلال Majesty Thursday
Istiqlál استقلال Independence Friday


Also existing in the Bahá'í Calendar system is a 19 year cycle called Váḥid and a 361 year (19×19) supercycle called Kull-i-Shay’ (literally, "All Things").[23] Each of the 19 years in a Vahid has been given a name as shown in the table below.[23]

The 10th Váḥid of the 1st Kull-i-Shay' started on 21 March 2015, and the 11th Váḥid will begin in 2034.[27]

The current Bahá'í year, year 176 BE (21 March 2019 – 20 March 2020), is year Báb (Gate) of the 10th Váḥid of the 1st Kull-i-Shay'.[27] The 2nd Kull-i-Shay' will begin in 2205.[27]

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
1 Alif ألف A
2 Bá' باء B
3 Ab أب Father
4 Dál دﺍﻝ D
5 Báb باب Gate
6 Váv وﺍو V
7 Abad أبد Eternity
8 Jád جاد Generosity
9 Bahá بهاء Splendour
10 Ḥubb حب Love
11 Bahháj بهاج Delightful
12 Javáb جواب Answer
13 Aḥad احد Single
14 Vahháb وﻫﺎب Bountiful
15 Vidád وداد Affection
16 Badíʿ بدیع Beginning
17 Bahí بهي Luminous
18 Abhá ابهى Most Luminous
19 Váḥid واحد Unity

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Buck, Christopher and Melton, J. Gordon (2011). "Bahā’ī Calendar and Rhythms of Worship." Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual Commemorations. By J. Gordon Melton, with James A. Beverley, Christopher Buck, and Constance A. Jones. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. (1:79–86.).
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Smith, Peter (2000). "calendar". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 98–100. ISBN 978-1-85168-184-6.
  3. ^ Lambden, Stephen (2018). Kitab al-asma' – The Book of Names. Lambden states that the "source did not, however, give precise details about where the calendral materials were located in the Kitab al-asma'."
  4. ^ a b c Taylor, John (2000-09-01). "On Novelty in Ayyám-i-Há and the Badí Calendar". Retrieved 2006-09-24.
  5. ^ MacEoin, Denis (1994). Rituals in Babism and Baha'ism. Pembroke Persian Papers. 2 (illustrated ed.). British Academic Press. p. 107. ISBN 978-1-85043-654-6.
  6. ^ Mottahedeh, Negar (1998). "The Mutilated Body of the Modern Nation: Qurrat al-'AynTahirah's Unveiling and the Iranian Massacre of the Babis". Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. 18 (2): 43. doi:10.1215/1089201X-18-2-38.
  7. ^ a b c Mihrshahi, Robin (2013). A Wondrous New Day: The Numerology of Creation and 'All Things' in the Badíʿ Calendar.
  8. ^ Mihrshahi, Robin (2004) [1991]. "Symbolism in the Badíʿ Calendar". Baha'i Studies Review. 12 (1). doi:10.1386/bsre.12.1.15 (inactive 2019-08-20). ISSN 1354-8697. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  9. ^ a b c Momen, Moojan (2014). The Badí` (Bahá'í) Calendar: An Introduction.
  10. ^ a b Universal House of Justice (1992). Notes of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. pp. 178–179. ISBN 978-0-85398-999-8..
  11. ^ Cameron, Glenn; Momen, Wendy (1996). A Basic Bahá'í Chronology. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-85398-404-7.
  12. ^ a b c The Universal House of Justice (2014-07-10). "To the Bahá'ís of the World". Retrieved 2014-07-10.
  13. ^ Nakhjavani, Ali (January 2015). "The ninth cycle of the Bahá'í Calendar". The American Bahá'í: 23–27.
  14. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "Ayyám-i-Há". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 53. ISBN 978-1-85168-184-6.
  15. ^ For calculating the dates, data provided by HM Nautical Almanac Office in the United Kingdom is used by the Bahá'í World Centre. The World Geodetic System 1984 is used to determine the point of reference for Tehran.
  16. ^ Purushotma, Shastri Baha'is to Implement New Calendar Worldwide. Huffington Post. 2014-14-07.
  17. ^ Zerubavel, Eviatar (1985). The Seven-Day Circle. New York: The Free Press. pp. 48–50. ISBN 978-0029346808.
  18. ^ Curtis, Larry (2004-03-06). "A Day in the Bahá'í Calendar". Archived from the original on 2 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-24.
  19. ^ Bahá'í Dates 172 to 221 B.E. (2015 – 2065; prepared by the Baha'i World Centre) (pdf)
  20. ^ Taherzadeh, A. (1976). The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume 1: Baghdad 1853–63. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. pp. 116–7. ISBN 978-0-85398-270-8.
  21. ^ Stephen N. Lambden. The Du'á Sahar or Supplication of Glory-Beauty (al-bahá')
  22. ^ Saiedi, Nader (2008). Gate of the Heart: Understanding the Writings of the Báb. Canada: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. pp. 327–328. ISBN 978-1-55458-056-9.
  23. ^ a b c d Effendi, Shoghi (1950). The Bahá'í Faith: 1844–1950. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Committee.
  24. ^ "Letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer". Bahá'í News (162, April 1943): 5. 1939-07-10. In Effendi, Shoghi; Bahá'u'llah; 'Abdu'l-Bahá; The Universal House of Justice (1983). Hornby, Helen (ed.). Lights of Guidance: A Bahá'í Reference File. New Delhi, India: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. p. 109. ISBN 978-81-85091-46-4. Retrieved 2009-03-15. III. Bahá'í: E. Miscellaneous Subjects: 372. Friday is Day of Rest in Bahá'í Calendar.
  25. ^ Bellenir, Karen (2004). Religious Holidays and Calendars: An Encyclopedic Handbook (3rd ed.). Omnigraphics. p. 154. ISBN 978-0-7808-0665-8.
  26. ^ National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United Kingdom. Letter from the NSA to the Bahá’í Council for Wales Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  27. ^ a b c Bolhuis, Arjen (2006-03-23). "The first Kull-i-Shay' of the Bahá'í Era". Retrieved 2006-09-23.

Further readingEdit

Primary sourcesEdit

Secondary sourcesEdit

External linksEdit