The Bahá'í calendar includes nine holy days, during which work is suspended, plus 19 days of fasting. With the exception of New Year, Bahá'í holidays commemorate major events in the lives of the founders of the Bahá'í Faith.
Two further special days are celebrated, but they are not considered holy days and work is not suspended. These are both associated with Abdu'l-Bahá, Bahá'u'lláh's eldest son and appointed successor. They are not celebrated as holy days because he held himself to be nothing more than his father's servant, and would never have agreed to anything that put him on an equal footing with Bahá'u'lláh.
The Nineteen Day Fast (March 2-20/21)
The Nineteen Day Fast was instituted by Bahá'u'lláh. He decreed that if capable, Bahá'ís between the ages of 15 and 70 should fast for 19 days each year, going without food or drink from sunrise to sunset in the last month of the Bahá'í year. The fast ends with the festival of Naw-Rúz (New Year).
Naw-Rúz - Bahá'í New Year (March 20/21)
Bahá'ís celebrate Naw-Rúz, New Year's Day, on the spring equinox. This date has been celebrated as the New Year in Persia for thousands of years.
First Day of Ridván - Declaration of Bahá'u'lláh (April 21)
The Festival of Ridván is a 12-day period commemorating Bahá'u'lláh's declaration of his mission on the eve of his departure from Baghdád for Constantinople in 1863. The first day commemorates his arrival in the Najíbíyyih Garden, where his declaration took place. Local and National Spiritual Assemblies are elected on this day. Commemorations of this day should be held at about 3:00pm. Work is suspended on this holiday.
Ninth Day of Ridván (April 29)
This holiday commemorates the arrival of members of Bahá'u'lláh's family in the Najíbíyyih Garden. Work should be suspended on this holiday.
Twelfth Day of Ridván (May 2)
This holiday commemorates the departure of Bahá'u'lláh for Constantinople and brings to a close the Festival of Ridván. Work should be suspended on this holiday.
Declaration of the Báb (May 23)
The Báb declared his mission to Mullá Husayn on this day in 1844, marking the inception of the Bahá'í era. Commemorations should be held at about two hours after sunset. Work should be suspended on this holiday.
Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh (May 29)
Bahá'u'lláh passed from this life on this date in 1892. Commemorations should be held at 3am. Work should be suspended on this holiday.
Martyrdom of the Báb (July 9)
The Báb was executed by firing squad on this date in 1850. Commemorations should be held at noon. Work should be suspended on this holiday.
Birth of the Báb (October or November)
This holiday commemorates the birth of the Báb in 1819. Work should be suspended on this holiday.
Birth of Bahá'u'lláh (October or November)
This holiday commemorates the birth of Bahá'u'lláh in 1817. Work should be suspended on this holiday.
Day of the Covenant (November 26)
'Abdu'l-Bahá did not permit the celebration of his birthday, as it falls on May 23, the same day as the Declaration of the Báb. However, after receiving numerous requests, he designated this day for the Bahá'ís to celebrate his life. Work is not suspended on this day.
Ascension of 'Abdu'l-Bahá (November 28)
This day commemorates the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá on this day in 1921. Commemorations should be held at 1am. Work is not suspended on this day.