The Baha’is of the Virgin Islands brought in the Baha’i New Year with prayers and festivities on March 19. Their New Year parties also brought an end to their 19-day period of fasting and spiritual renewal.
The Baha’i calendar is based on a solar calendar of 19 months and 19 days. The four or five days remaining make up the 365 days of the Gregorian calendar. These days are used for “Intercalary Days,” which is a time of hospitality and gift-giving used to prepare for the last month of the Baha’i year, which is for fasting. The Baha’i calendar was inaugurated in 1844 with the declaration of The Bab, the forerunner of the Baha’i Faith.
The New Year is the first of nine Baha’i holy days held throughout the year. It began the year 174 B.E. and is significant as Baha’is all over the world are eagerly anticipating the 200th anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, the Promised One of all ages, on Sunday, Oct. 22. This historic occasion is immediately preceded by the celebration of the Birth of The Bab on Oct. 21. (Bahá’í dates begin at sunset, so celebrations may be held from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon).
Also in April, the Baha’is celebrate the King of Festivals, Ridvan, when Baha’u’llah announced His mission. It will be celebrated on Monday, April 20, the First Day; Friday, April 28, the Ninth Day; and Monday, May 1, the Twelfth Day. The public is invited and welcome to any Baha’i holy days.
For more information on the Baha’i Faith and local activities including study circles, devotional meetings, junior youth groups and children’s classes in Christiansted, call 277-8470; in Frederiksted, call 772-3827; on St. John, call 714-1641; and on St. Thomas, call 643-5059.