A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Holy Days

Briefly, every nation has a day known as a holiday which they celebrate with joy. In the sacred Laws of God, in every cycle and dispensation, there are blessed feasts, holidays and workless days. On such days all kinds of occupations, commerce, industry, agriculture etc., are not allowed. Every work is unlawful. All must enjoy a good time, gather together, hold general meetings, become as one assembly, so the national oneness, unity and harmony may become personified in all eyes. As it is a blessed day it should not be neglected or without results by making it a day limited to the fruits of mere pleasure. During such blessed days institutions should be founded that may be of permanent benefit and value to the people so that in current conversation and in history may become widely known that such a good work was inaugurated on such a feast day. Therefore, the intelligent must search and investigate reality to find out what important affair, what philanthropic institutions are most needed and what foundations should be laid for the community on that particular day, so that they must be established. For example, if they find that the community needs morality, then they may lay down the foundation of good morals on that day. If the community may be in need of spreading sciences and widening the circle of knowledge, on that day they should proceed in that direction, that is to say, direct the thoughts of all the people to that philanthropic cause. If, However, the community is in need of widening the circle of commerce or industry or agriculture they should start the means so that the desired aim may be attained. If the community needs protection, proper support and care of orphans, they should act upon the welfare of the orphans, etc. Such undertakings that are beneficial to the poor, the weak and the helpless should be pursued in order that, on that day, through the unity of all and through great meetings, results may be obtained, the glory and blessings of that day may be declared and manifest.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Lights of Guidance, p. 302-303)


It is fully appreciated that the Bahá’í Temple must be open for worship on the Holy Days and therefore it is permitted to provide, to the minimum extent possible, essential services. Those necessary tasks, such as cleaning and other preparation of the building, which can be carried out on the previous day should be so done and only those duties which must be performed should be undertaken on the Holy Day. In the case of the temple it is immaterial whether the workers are Bahá’ís or non-Bahá’ís since it is the duty of the Faith to observe, especially in respect of its own institutions, the command to cease work on the Holy Days.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 301)


Regarding the sale of tea and other refreshment in a cinema under non-Bahá’í ownership; those friends who have hired from the owner of the cinema a stall for the sale of such refreshments should make every effort to obtain permission to close on Bahá’í holidays. In case, however, the non-Bahá’í owner or partner refuses to grant their request their only alternative is to obey.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 301)


The beloved Guardian made it absolutely clear that the command to cease work during the nine Holy Days is a matter for conscientious obedience by every individual believer. In the case of businesses and other undertakings entirely even though non Bahá’ís may be members of their staffs.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 301)


The case is different with a bread bakery owned by a believer. In this case there can be no excuse whatever why the shop should not be closed during Bahá’í holidays, as there are always non- Bahá’í bakers from whom the public can buy.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 301)


The day of the appearance of God’s messenger on earth is ever a sacred day, a day when man commemorates his lord. Among the ancient Persians this day was looked upon as the holy day of the year - a day when hospitals and charitable institutions were founded, collections for the poor were made and every effort put forth that it might not be allowed to pass without leaving some divine trace and throughout Persia one sees these historical traces.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 75)


The exchanging of presents among believers or the giving of gifts to children is not an integral part of any of our nine Bahá’í Holy Days. There is no prohibition against it, and it is, as you say, a custom among Persian believers such as the Bahá’í to whom you spoke, to exchange gifts at Naw-Ruz.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 301)