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Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era

  • Author:
  • J. E. Esslemont

  • Source:
  • US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1980 edition
  • Pages:
  • 286
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Pages 182-183


The essential joyousness of the Bahá’í religion finds expression in numerous feasts and holidays throughout the year.
In a talk on the Feast of Naw-Rúz, in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:—
In the sacred laws of God, in every cycle and dispensation there are blessed feasts, holidays and workless days. On such days all kinds of occupations, commerce, industry, agriculture, etc., should be suspended.

All should rejoice together, hold general meetings, become as one assembly, so that the national oneness, unity and harmony may be demonstrated in the eyes of all.

As it is a blessed day it should not be neglected, nor deprived of results by making it a day devoted to the pursuit of mere pleasure.

During such days institutions should be founded that may be of permanent benefit and value to the people. …

Today there is no result or fruit greater than guiding the people. Undoubtedly the friends of God, upon such a day, must leave tangible philanthropic or ideal traces that should reach all mankind and not pertain only to the Bahá’ís. In this wonderful dispensation, philanthropic affairs are for all humanity without exception, because it is the manifestation of the mercifulness of God. Therefore, 183 my hope is that the friends of God, every one of them, may become as the mercy of God to all mankind.
The Feasts of Naw-Rúz (New Year) and Riḍván, the Anniversaries of the Birth of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh, and of the Báb’s Declaration (which is also the birthday of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá) are the great joy-days of the year for Bahá’ís. In Persia they are celebrated by picnics or festal gatherings at which music, the chanting of verses and tablets, and short addresses suitable to the occasion are contributed by those present. The intercalary days between the eighteenth and nineteenth months (that is, February 26 to March 1 inclusive) are specially devoted to hospitality to friends, the giving of presents, ministering to the poor and sick, et cetera.
The anniversaries of the martyrdom of the Báb and the departure of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá are celebrated with solemnity by appropriate meetings and discourses, the chanting of prayers and Tablets.