The Baha'i Fast
As has been the case with other revealed religions, the Bahá’í Faith sees great value in the practice of fasting as a discipline for the SOUL. Bahá’u’lláh designated a nineteen-day period each year when adult Bahá’ís fast from sunrise to sunset each day. This period coincides with the Bahá’í month of Alá (meaning Loftiness), from March 2 to 21, inclusive. This is the month immediately preceding the Bahá’í new year, which occurs the day of the vernal equinox. The period of fasting is viewed as a time of spiritual preparation and regeneration for a new year’s activities.
Women who are nursing or pregnant, the aged, the sick, the traveler, those engaged in heavy labor, as well as children under the age of fifteen, are exempt from observance of the Fast. “The fasting period which lasts nineteen days starting as a rule from the second of March every year and ending on the twentieth of the same month, involves complete abstention from food and drink from sunrise till sunset. It is essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recuperation, during which the believer must strive to make the necessary readjustments in his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in his soul. Its significance and purpose are, therefore, fundamentally spiritual in character. Fasting is symbolic, and a reminder of abstinence from selfish and carnal desires.”
©Copyright 2003, RECORD OBSERVER (Centerville, MD, USA)