Holy Day Observances
by / on behalf of Universal House of Justice1992-06-15
1. Introduction, from recipientIn the particular case of the observance of Holy Days and the reciting of the Tablet of Visitation, I would like to share with you a letter from the Department of the secretariat of the Universal House of Justice on this subject.
The question that was asked of the Universal House of Justice was - Should the Tablet of Visitation be recited at the exact time when Shoghi Effendi advised the friends that they should observe the Holy Days (for example, at 3am in the case of the Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh), and whether there was anything in the Writings regarding standing and facing the Qiblih when reciting the Tablets.
2. Response from the House19 August 1992
The Universal House of Justice has received your letter of 15 June 1992 regarding the conduct of Bahá'í Holy Day observances. We have been asked to provide the following response.
The commemoration of Holy Days, including the development of programs for these observances, is a matter left to the discretion of the appropriate National and Local Spiritual Assemblies, which are entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that such observances are conducted in a manner in keeping with the spirit of the divine teachings and ordinances. While it is customary for the Tablets of Visitation to be recited at the conclusion of the Holy Day programs held at the Bahá'í World Centre, as well as in countries of the Middle East, this practice is not binding upon Bahá'í communities elsewhere, nor has a specific time been fixed for the recitations to occur.
Nothing has been found in the Bahá'í Writings requiring the friends to stand and face the Qiblih whenever the Tablets of Visitation are recited. No issue should be made of this matter when a Holy Day observance is being held. However, when one is actually in, or within the precincts of one of the Holy Shrines, it is an act of simple reverence to stand and face that Shrine when the Tablet of Visitation is recited.
For the Department of the Secretariat