The Badi (Baha’i) Calendar: An Overview

The Badi Calendar Overview
The recent letter from the Universal House of Justice about the worldwide adoption of the Badi Calendar has generated a lot of questions and excitement, so we thought it would be a good time to provide a general overview of this unique calendar.

Are the Badi Calendar and the Baha’i Calendar the same thing?

Absolutely. The Baha’i Era began with the Declaration of the Bab. He delineated a new calendar to mark its passage of time and to set a pattern of community life and He named it the Badi Calendar. Badi means “to create anew” as well as “wondrous” and “unique” in Arabic. Baha’u’llah later approved and elucidated on the Badi Calendar.1

What is the history of the Badi Calendar?

The details of the Badi Calendar were first set forth in the Persian Bayan. Baha’u’llah confirmed its validity in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, clarified that the last month of year is a month of fasting and that it concluded with a festivity that inaugurates a new year. He also stated that the calendar begin – in terms of counting years, not in terms of determining the new year’s day – with the Declaration of the Bab.

How is the calendar structured?

The Badi Calendar is a solar calendar and like many other calendars, it has days, months and years:

Days

As with the Gregorian calendar, a week in the Badi calendar has 7 days. They are:

    • Jalal (Glory) — this day corresponds with the Gregorian Saturday
    • Jamal (Beauty) – Sunday
    • Kamal (Perfection) – Monday
    • Fidal (Grace) – Tuesday
    • Idal (Justice) – Wednesday
    • Istijlal (Majesty) – Thursday
    • Istiqlal (Independence) – Friday2

Months

The year is divided into 19 months of 19 days, with the Intercalary Days (Ayyam-i-Ha) of either 4 or 5 days occurring before the last month of the year. The months of the year are as follows:

  • Baha (Splendour)
  • Jalal (Glory)
  • Jamal (Beauty)
  • Azamat (Grandeur)
  • Nur (Light)
  • Rahmat (Mercy)
  • Kalimat (Words)
  • Kamal (Perfection)
  • Asma (Names)
  • Izzat (Might)
  • Mashiyyat (Will)
  • Ilm (Knowledge)
  • Qudrat (Power)
  • Qawl (Speech)
  • Masa’il (Questions)
  • Sharaf (Honour)
  • Sultan (Sovereignty)
  • Mulk (Dominion)
  • Ala (Loftiness), the month of Fasting.

Years

Each period of 19 years is called a “Vahid” and 19 Vahids are called a “Kull-i-Shay”.3 In its letter, the beloved Universal House of Justice states that this year will conclude the 9th Vahid of the 1st Kull-i-Shay. It is an auspicious event.

Each year in a Vahid also has its own name. They are: Alif, Ba, Ab, Dal, Bab, Waw, Abad, Jad, Baha, Hubb, Bahdaj, Jawab, Ahad, Wahhab, Widad, Badi, Bahi, Abha and Wahid (or Vahid).4

Holy Days

The Baha’i Holy Days fall on the following days of the Badi Calendar: Naw-Ruz, 1 Baha; the Festival of Ridvan, 13 Jalal to 5 Jamal; the Declaration of the Bab, 8 Azamat; the Ascension of Baha’u’llah, 13 Azamat; the Martyrdom of the Bab, 17 Rahmat; the Day of the Covenant, 4 Qawl; and the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha, 6 Qawl. These dates are fixed within the calendar and do not move – in other words, the Declaration of the Bab will always be joyously celebrated on 8 Azamat.

In contrast, there are Holy Days that move according to the movements of the moon. These Holy Days are the Birth of the Bab and the Birth of Baha’u’llah – which are also known as “The Twin Holy Days”. Beginning next year, they will be celebrated around the world in succession after the 8th new moon following Naw Ruz.

Up until this point, the Baha’is in the West observed these Holy Days according to the Gregorian calendar on October 20th and November 12th respectively and the Baha’is in the East celebrated them on the 1st and 2nd day of the Muslim month of Muharram. Beginning next year, we will all celebrate these special events at the same time.

In its letter about the universal implementation of the Badi Calendar, the Universal House of Justice also tells us of its legislation regarding when Naw-Ruz will occur. They write:

We have decided that Tihran, the birthplace of the Abha Beauty, will be the spot on the earth that will serve as the standard for determining, by means of astronomical computations from reliable sources, the moment of the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere and thereby the day of Naw-Ruz for the Baha’i world.

Up until now, the Badi Calendar has been temporarily tethered to the Gregorian calendar and all of its months have been fixed. With this exciting legislation, the Badi Calendar will begin with the astronomically accurate vernal equinox, the first day of spring, and the entire year will be celebrated accordingly.

Where can I find out more about the Badi Calendar?

Gerald Keil’s book Time and Baha’i Era: A Study of the Badi Calendar, which was published by George Ronald in 2008, is a fascinating and in-depth study of the subject.

Nineteenmonths.com is a wonderful website that showcases photographs from various Baha’i artists each Baha’i month. It can be a unique tool to mark the passage of time according to the Badi Calendar.

Enablemetogrow.com has a great post about teaching children the names of the months and it includes a poster, video and song.

The implications, the meaning and the significance of the Badi Calendar will further unfold over time but in its 10 July 2014 letter, the Universal House of Justice wrote these stirring words:

The adoption of a new calendar in each dispensation is a symbol of the power of Divine Revelation to reshape human perception of material, social, and spiritual reality. Through it, sacred moments are distinguished, humanity’s place in time and space reimagined, and the rhythm of life recast. Next Naw-Ruz will mark yet another historic step in the manifestation of the unity of the people of Baha and the unfoldment of Baha’u’llah’s World Order.


  1. Gerald Keil, Time and the Baha’i Era, p.73 []
  2. Ibid. p.111 []
  3. Ibid. p.96 []
  4. Ibid. p.103 []

About the Author

Sonjel

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a mother, a wife and a bookworm but professionally she is a museologist and a library technician. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.

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Discussion 23 Comments

  1. This is a really great explanatory article. Gaining awareness of this calendar and learning to abide by it in its own right — rather than in relation to our traditional calendars — is going to be a fascinating adventure in the years ahead.

    I hate to be one of those people who only comments when he finds a correction is needed, but … according to the relevant article that was published in numerous volumes of The Baha’i World, the book by the Bab that established the names and ordering of the days, months and years of the Badi calendar was the Kitab-i-Asma, the Book of Names. (The historian Nabil-i-Azam was given, by Baha’u’llah, the task of compiling and codifying the calendar through analysis of the original text of the Bab, according to that article; of course that’s a level of detail that isn’t completely necessary in the article as you’re presenting it, but I think it’s interesting anyway.) Also, in the last paragraph in the “Holy Days” section, I’d suggest using the word “astronomically” rather than “astrologically” — while either word would be accurate, there are overtones in the concept of astrology that aren’t universally well-received. Thanks so much and great job!

    1. I heartily agree with your suggestion to change “astrologically” to “astronomically.” I disagree that the former word is at all appropriate. Astrology is in no way scientific. An excellent article otherwise. Thank you!

  2. Despite of the missing Baha’i month of Kamal, the article is “deepening for old and new Baha’i’s alike. I posted a similar article at my page on Allvoices.

    Alfredo B. Ancheta
    Olongapo City, Zambales, Philippines

  3. Anyone else wonder why the word Baha is translated as Splendour when in all the other Writings it is translated as Glory (Glory of God, Most Glorious)? It seems more correct to me that the first month of the year would be Glory in English to correspond to the English translation of the Most Great Name.

      1. I believe the quote Stephanie refers to is the one on page 94 of God Passes By. These three words also appear together in the Glossary of The Dawn-Breakers, defining the word “Baha.”

    1. sorry… i hope that didn’t come out as rude or demanding… i’m very grateful for this site and the calendar site has been helpful when i create our community calendar :)

      1. Hi Isra,

        No it didn’t come across as rude or demanding at all, but the calendar.bahaiq.com site is not ours so we have no idea if it will be updated or not. We are however hoping to create our own calendar for Baha’is to use and will let everyone know once that’s ready.

        Thanks for your support and I’m glad you like our site! :)

  4. Hi Naysan,

    We are interested in installing a Badi calendar module on our website ‘Archives – the Memory of Community’
    It would be nice if we can add today’s date somewhere on the website similar to the one they have at the right upper corner of their website at
    http://www.bahaiq.com
    When your calendar is ready, can you share a code of your calendar module with us? Then with a little luck (We don’t have much experience with programming) we can rewrite it to meet our needs and put on our website.

  5. Here’s another small–really small–nitpick. Under the heading “Years” where you list the Vahids, there should be a comma after “Hubb.” (Otherwise it looks like ‘Hubb Bahdaj” is all one name and we only get 18 Vahids.) Excellent article you have here though!

  6. Thank you for this useful explanation of our Calendar. Another thing to be grateful for: our beloved House of Justice taking this momentous and unifying action and the blessing of wonderful Baha’i websites such as yours which promulgate the Message. Thank you for your service! The discussion here is rich and enlightening.

  7. Thank you very much for such a lovely written, informative and helpful article on the Badi Calendar and the upcoming transition the House of Justice will soon make on the calendar’s worldwide unific implementation.

  8. It will be interesting to see what the worldwide bicentennial observances in 174 & 176 BE, (2017 and 2019), will be like for observing the births of two Manifestations of God when we consider the power and majesty of what took place in 1992 for the Centenary of Baha’u’llah’s passing. Holy Years? Will 175 BE in between be designated a Holy Year?

  9. One way of getting to know the calendar better is through http://www.bahaidate.today – it shows the current day on the Badi calendar every day, including the names of the weekday, day of the month and month. You can subscribe to be notified via email or through Facebook.

  10. The Baha’i Holy Day dates are fixed but the Gregorian date moves when it’s leap year as it is on the martyrdom of the Bab which falls on the 10th July in 2015.

  11. If you are wondering why the date to commemorate the martyrdom of the Bab is moved from 9th of July to the 10th of July next year, when leap year is actually on the year 2016, is because the year 2016 according to our calendar begins on Naw-Ruz (March 21) next year(2015). ( happy to answer any questions or queries)

  12. I have been asked if there are any other Baha’i Holy days dates that’s been moved because of leap-year. I’m assuming the twin Holy Birthdays because UHJ said to commemorate them on the days after the occurrence of the 8th new moon. Next year the 8th new moon occurs on the 11th of November so technically the twin Holy Birthdays should be commemorated on the 12th and 13th but UHJ said it will be commemorated on the 13th and 14th of November. ( if you want more information;email me (pesawhite@hotmail.com) )

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