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Badí' Calendar

by Denis MacEoin

published in Encyclopaedia Iranica, Volume 3
New York: Columbia University, 1989
BADĪʿ, designation of the calendar system of Babism and Bahaism, originally introduced by the Bāb in several works, including his Persian Bayān (5:3, pp. 152-54). It is based on a solar year of nineteen months, each of nineteen days, together with four or five intercalary days (whose positioning is a matter of disagreement between Azalī Babis and Bahais). There are also cycles (wāḥed) of nineteen years, each year of which has a particular name: Each such cycle constitutes a koll šayʾ. The months and days of the week have Babi names. The year begins on the vernal equinox, which is celebrated as Nowrūz. The Bāb himself did not appoint any other festivals than this (although he did mention “days of glory and sadness” on which sermons were to be read; Arabic Bayān 7:11, p. 30), but a total of eleven days are held sacred by the Bahais in commemoration of events in the history of the sect; work is suspended on nine of these (Bahāʾī World, pp. 688-89). The last month of the year (ʿAlāʾ) replaces Ramażān as that of the fast, observed, as in Islam, from sunrise to sunset. Friday is reserved by the Bāb, not as a day of congregational prayer, but as a time for listening to sermons (Arabic Bayān 9:9, p. 42). Bahais date the commencement of the Badīʿ era from the Nowrūz preceding the announcement of the Bāb’s mission in Jomādā I, 1260/May, 1844 (Browne, Traveller’s Narrative, p. 425), but there are indications that the Bāb himself intended it to begin in the sixth year after that event (Miller, Bahāʾī Faith, p. 63; cf. Bāb, Haykal al-dīn, pp. 5-6).

Bibliography : Sayyed ʿAlī-Moḥammad Šīrāzī (the Bāb), Bayān-e fārsī, Tehran, n.d. Idem, al-Bayān al-ʿarabī and Ketāb-e haykal al-dīn, published in one volume, Tehran, n.d. E. G. Browne, ed. and tr., A Traveller’s Narrative Written to Illustrate the Episode of the Bāb, 2 vols., Cambridge, 1891, II, pp. 412-25. W. McE. Miller, The Bahāʾī Faith: Its History and Teachings, South Pasadena, California, 1974. The Bahāʾī World 16, Haifa, 1976, pp. 688-91 (also earlier volumes). Principles of Bahāʾī Administration, 3rd ed., London, 1973, pp. 53-57.

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