Holy Days - Time to Commemorate

As the Guardian indicated, the commemoration of the ascension of Bahá’u’lláh should be held, if feasible, at 3:00 am on 29 May and that of the Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá at 1:00 am on 28 November. These times should be measured according to standard time in each area. If daylight saving time is being used in the country, the commemorations should continue to be observed according to standard time.

Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies 15 March 1992

In light of questions raised by some National Spiritual Assemblies and individual believers concerning how the Twin Holy Birthdays should be observed, the Universal House of Justice has asked us to inform you that the beloved Guardian, in a letter written on his behalf to a National Assembly, advised that refraining from work and gathering for observances are required on both days.

Universal House of Justice, 8 September 2015

This will confirm our cable of October 19, 1971 stating that Naw-Ruz should be observed on March 21 regardless of the date and hour of the vernal equinox. It has been decided that until the Universal House of Justice fixes the meridian, the friends in the West should observe Naw-Ruz on the 21st day of March each year according to the Gregorian calendar.

From a letter dated 28 October 1971 from the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States

With respect to the question as to when the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh is to be commemorated the House of Justice has decided that the friends are free to hold commemorations at any time during the Bahá’í day, that is, the period of sunset to sunset. This applies to all Holy Days for which a designated time for its observance has not been specified, namely, the Births of Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb, Naw Ruz and the Ninth and Twelfth Days of Ridván, and to the Day of the Covenant as well.

Universal House of Justice, to an individual, 10 February 2010

Bahá’u’lláh has left the details of many laws to be filled in by the Universal House of Justice. Among these are a number of matters affecting the Bahá’í calendar. The Guardian has stated that the implementation, worldwide, of the law concerning the timing of Naw-Ruz will require the choice of a particular spot on earth which will serve as the standard for the fixing of the time of the spring equinox. He also indicated that the choice of this spot has been left to the decision of the Universal House of Justice.”

The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 177, note 26

In Canada, all the provinces, except Saskatchewan, observe daylight saving time. This means that in these provinces the observance of the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh, for example, should be held, if feasible at 4:00 am on May 20 as that corresponds to 3:00 am standard time.

National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada, to all Local Spiritual Assemblies 22 Nov 2010

Naw-Ruz is the first day of the new year. It coincides with the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, which usually occurs on 21 March. Bahá’u’lláh explains that this feast day is to be celebrated on whatever day the sun passes into the constellation of Aries (i.e. the vernal equinox), even should this occur one minute before sunset (Q and A 35). Hence Naw-Ruz could fall on 20, 21, or 22 March, depending on the time of the equinox.

The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 177, note 26

Questions have arisen concerning whether it would be appropriate to hold two separate programs, before and after sunset, on the same Gregorian calendar day.  As you know, the Bahá’í day begins and ends at sunset, and there are no particular hours specified for the commemoration of the births of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh.  While there is therefore freedom to arrange for gatherings at any time during these two Bahá’í days, we pray that the planning will be invested with a sense of the joyful, sacred and historic nature of this moment.  It will be equally important that plans take into account the friends’ longing to celebrate in the ways the House of Justice has described, drawing in their family, friends and acquaintances.

NSA of Canada, to all Local Spiritual Assemblies, 25 September 2015

We wish to reiterate the five Holy Days that are to be commemorated at specific times, this time indicating in parenthesis the actual time they should be commemorated in provinces where daylight saving time is observed:

* The anniversary of the Declaration of the Báb on May 22, at about two hours after sunset

* The first day of Ridván, at about 3 pm (4 pm DST) on the 21st of April

* The anniversary of the Martyrdom of the Báb on July 9th, at about noon (1 pm DST)

* The ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on November 28 at 1 am

National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada, to all Local Spiritual Assemblies 22 Nov 2010