Nineteen-Day Fast: Baha’is enter devotional period leading up to New Year

This photograph by David Haslip of the Universal House of Justice, governing body of the Bahá’ís, in Haifa, Israel, is in public domain and can be shared via Wikimedia Commons.

SUNSET THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 29: Sacred days “outside of time” began for members of the Baha’i faith at sundown last Sunday, as the festival of Ayyam-i-Ha, or Intercalary Days, commenced.

Then, on the evening of February 29, Bahai’s enter the final month of the calendar year with the Nineteen-Day Fast.


For the entire final month of the Baha’i calendar year—Ala, which lasts 19 days—Baha’is observe a sunrise-to-sunset fast. Many Baha’is regard the Nineteen-Day Fast as one of the greatest obligations of their faith.

Instituted by the Bab and revised by Baha’u’llah, the Nineteen-Day Fast is intended to bring a person closer to God. According to the Bab, the true purpose of the fast is to abstain from everything except divine love. Fasting guidelines, exemptions and more are in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, Baha’u’llah’s book of laws.

The Nineteen-Day Fast ends as Baha’is welcome Naw-Ruz, the Baha’i New Year. This year, Naw-Ruz will begin on the evening of March 19.
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