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TAGS: Ayyam-i-Ha; Badi calendar; Christianity; Christmas; Gift giving; Holy days; Holy days of other religions; Interfaith dialogue; New year
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Christmas and Bahá'ís:
Warwick Leaflets

by Warwick Bahá'í Bookshop

Bahá'ís are often asked if they celebrate Christmas. The answer is not a simple "yes" or "no", so this leaflet tries to explain why.

Bahá'ís believe that Bahá'u'lláh, the Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, was the Promised One of all religions. Therefore Bahá'ís believe that all of the major religions are true and from God, but that the Bahá'í Faith is the one for this age.

Bahá'ís cannot celebrate the festivals of all of the religions, it would not make sense, so they celebrate the Bahá'í festivals instead. The Bahá'í Holy Days mark events in the life of Bahá'u'lláh and the early history of the Faith.

However, the Bahá'í Faith is all about unity, and Bahá'ís do not wish to cut themselves off from anyone who is not a Bahá'í. Most people in this country celebrate Christmas and Bahá'ís will join in these celebrations. So Bahá'ís do not celebrate Christmas amongst themselves, but they will happily celebrate Christmas with people who are not Bahá'ís. For example, in a Bahá'í family, where the parents and children are Bahá'ís, they do not usually buy one another Christmas presents. But if grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are not Bahá'ís, the Bahá'í family will exchange presents with them and will celebrate with them.

At school, Bahá'í children will happily join in the nativity play and sing carols. This is not a problem, because Bahá'ís revere Christ as a Messenger of God. In fact, Bahá'ís believe Bahá'u'lláh to be the Return of Christ.

In the same way, Bahá'ís see no difficulty with joining in the celebrations of their friends who might be Hindu, Buddhist or Muslim for example. Bahá'ís respect everyone's beliefs.

In other countries, where for instance Buddhism might be the main religion, Bahá'ís will celebrate Buddhist festivals with their friends and relatives who are not Bahá'ís.

Bahá'ís usually exchange presents during a celebration at the end of February, when there will often also be parties for both children and adults. Children may also receive gifts on some of the other Holy Days.

New Year

Bahá'ís also celebrate new year at a different time. The Bahá'í Faith has its own calendar, and the Bahá'í new year falls on the 21st March each year. It is known as Naw Rúz. However, if Bahá'ís are invited to join in festivities on 31st December they will quite happily accept, just as they are quite happy to invite anyone to a party for Naw Rúz. In fact, Bahá'ís enjoy hosting parties and inviting their friends to Holy Day celebrations. This is all part of bringing people together to build the unity which the world so desperately needs today.

The text of all these leaflets remains the copyright of Warwick Bahá'í Bookshop. The Bookshop is happy for people to download individual copies for their own purposes. Printed copies can be purchased from the Warwick Bookshop. Individuals or communities wishing to translate or print these leaflets in other countries please contact the Bookshop for permission.
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