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Ayyám-i-Há refers to a period of intercalary days in the Baháʼí calendar, when Baháʼís celebrate the Festival of Ayyám-i-Há. The four or five days of this period are inserted between the last two months of the calendar (Mulk and ʻAláʼ). The length of Ayyám-i-Há varies according to the timing of the following vernal equinox so that the next year always starts on the vernal equinox.
The 2019 dates for this observance are from sunset on Monday, February 25, to sunset on Friday, March 1.
The Báb, the founder of the Bábí Faith, instituted the Badíʻ calendar in the Persian Bayán with 19 months of 19 days each and a period of intercalary days to allow for the calendar to be solar. The introduction of intercalation marked an important break from Islam, as under the Islamic calendar the practice of intercalation had been specifically prohibited in the Qur'an. The Báb did not, however, specify where the intercalary days should go. Baháʼu'lláh, who claimed to be the one foretold by the Báb, confirmed and adopted the Badi calendar in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, his book of laws. He placed the intercalary days before the fasting month of ʻAlá, the nineteenth and last month, and gave the intercalary days the name "Ayyám-i-Há" or "Days of Ha". Prior to 172 B.E. (2015 A.D.), Ayyám-i-Há was from sunset on February 25 to sunset on March 1.
Symbolism and celebration
The nineteen months of the Baháʼí calendar are named after the attributes of God. Ayyám-i-Há, which means the "Days of Há" – Há is the Arabic letter corresponding to the English H – commemorates the transcendence of God over his attributes, since its name "Há" has been used as a symbol of the essence of God in the Baháʼí holy writings. Under the Arabic abjad system, the letter Há has the numerical value of five, which is equal to the maximum number of days in Ayyam-i-Há.
During the Festival of Ayyám-i-Há Baháʼís are encouraged to celebrate God and his oneness by showing love, fellowship and unity. In many instances Baháʼís give and accept gifts to demonstrate these attributes, and because of this gift giving period, it is sometimes compared to Christmas, but many Baha'is only exchange small gifts because gifts are not the main focus. It is also a time of charity and goodwill and Baháʼís often participate in various projects of a humanitarian nature.
- Esslemont, J.E. (1980). Baháʼu'lláh and the New Era (5th ed.). Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Baháʼí Publishing Trust. pp. 178–179. ISBN 0-87743-160-4. Archived from the original on September 22, 2006.
- According to the definition of intercalary days in the Oxford Companion to the Year four of the five days are "epagomenal days" added to make the number of a calendar's days equal to the number of days in a year, and only the fifth day of Ayyám-i-Há is an intercalary day.
- The Universal House of Justice (July 10, 2014). "To the Baháʼís of the World". Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
- Baháʼí Dates 172 to 221 B.E. (2015–2065; prepared by the Baha'i World Centre) Archived December 22, 2015, at the Wayback Machine (pdf)
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- National Spiritual Assembly of the Baháʼís of the United States (March 5, 2006). "The Baháʼí Calendar". bahai.us. Archived from the original on September 28, 2006. Retrieved September 24, 2006.
- Universal House of Justice (1992). Notes of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Baháʼí Publishing Trust. p. 178. ISBN 0-85398-999-0. Archived from the original on October 4, 2006..
- National Spiritual Assembly of the Baháʼís of the United States (June 28, 2006). "Baha'is mark New Year with charity, period of fasting". bahai.us. Archived from the original on February 23, 2007. Retrieved February 25, 2007.