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The Birth of the Bab – and a New Spiritual Reality

From the Editors | Nov 5, 2021

PART 1 IN SERIES The Baha’is and the Twin Holy Days

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

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From the Editors | Nov 5, 2021

PART 1 IN SERIES The Baha’is and the Twin Holy Days

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

At sunset today, Baha’is all over the world will begin celebrating the birth of the Bab, the forerunner of Baha’u’llah and the founder of the Babi Faith, which immediately preceded the Baha’i Faith.

Then, at sunset tomorrow, the celebration will continue as Baha’is honor and joyfully observe the birthday of Baha’u’llah.

You’re invited to join us! The Bab said God desireth not to see … any soul deprived of joy and radiance,” and for the next two days – the annual 48-hour period Baha’is refer to as “the Twin Holy Days” – plenty of joy and radiance will be available for everyone.

RELATED: Every New Era Brings a New Calendar

Every great Faith celebrates the birth of its founder, so like the observance of the birthday of any prophet of God, these days mark one of the holiest, happiest, and most delightful times of the year all across the global Baha’i community.

Who Was the Bab?

Baha’is believe that the Bab, whose title means “the Gate,” opened the way for the advent of a new age of fulfillment and maturation for all humanity. In conjunction with the new outpouring of spiritual grace and knowledge from Baha’u’llah, those twin revelations promise to establish the unity of all peoples, cultures, and religions as they fulfill the age-old promise of the Kingdom of God on Earth.

In 1844, the Bab, whose given name was Siyyid Ali Muhammad, declared his mission as the spiritual forerunner and herald of “Him Whom God Shall Make Manifest,” announcing and preparing the way for a major messenger from God, who he promised would soon appear.

The Bab’s primary mission — to herald and proclaim the coming arrival of that revolutionary and divinely-inspired spiritual educator — would culminate in the establishment of the Baha’i Faith by Baha’u’llah nineteen years later in 1863. Like John the Baptist, the Bab instructed his hopeful followers to prepare for the appearance of that new prophet. He also announced the advent of a new era in human history, one that would witness the emergence of a just, unified, and peaceful global civilization. The Bab wrote that a recognition of the Creator’s divine unity and oneness had the power to bring all humankind together:

Know thou that first and foremost in religion is the knowledge of God. This attaineth its consummation in the recognition of His divine unity …

These momentous revelations, from both the Bab and Baha’u’llah, can be celebrated as sacred by all peoples, no matter what their background or beliefs. 

Baha’u’llah, in his Most Holy Book, asked the Baha’is to celebrate a feast of unity, joy and commemoration on each of these two special days, which makes them second in importance in the Baha’i calendar to the two “Most Great Festivals”—which commemorate the Declaration of Baha’u’llah in the garden of Ridvan in 1863 and the Declaration of the Bab in Shiraz in 1844.

How Did the Twin Holy Days Begin, and Why Do They Move Around on the Calendar Each Year?

So why do Baha’is call these Holy Days “twins?” Because, according to the Muslim calendar in use in Persia when they were born, the birthdays of the Bab and of Baha’u’llah fall on successive days — the Bab’s birthday on the first day of the month of Muharram and Baha’u’llah’s birthday on the second day of that same month, respectively. In the Most Holy Book, Baha’u’llah wrote:

All Feasts have attained their consummation in the two Most Great Festivals, and in the two other Festivals that fall on the twin days … Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Ordainer, the Omniscient.

In the global East, Baha’is have traditionally observed those twin Holy Days in accordance with the Muslim lunar calendar, celebrating them together on consecutive days as one two-day festival. Baha’u’llah himself observed them this way during his lifetime. 

In the global West, Baha’is used to observe the birthdays of the Bab and Baha’u’llah on October 20 and November 12, the historical dates fixed for these days on the solar calendar, but in 2014 a significant shift took place in that practice. Baha’is all over the world, including the Western countries, began celebrating these joyous holy days according to a new, unique melding of the solar and the lunar calendars. Instead of relying solely on either calendar, Baha’is now celebrate the Twin Holy Days eight lunar months from the Baha’i New Year, which occurs on the vernal equinox of the solar year, usually March 21.

RELATED: The Parallels Between John the Baptist and the Bab

You’re Invited to the Celebration!

Would you like to celebrate these twin holy days with the world’s Baha’is? Everywhere at Baha’i gatherings for the birth of the Bab today, and the birth of Baha’u’llah tomorrow, happiness and good cheer will prevail. Music will play, friends will come together, children will laugh, warm fellowship will fill the air, and refreshments will definitely be served. We would love it if you would join us – just get in touch with your local Baha’i community to get the details.

Every human being on Earth is welcome, because Baha’is believe in and practice love and unity. The Twin Holy Days signal a joyful, celebratory season of the Baha’i year, when communities come together to commemorate the advent of these two new prophets of God, the Bab and Baha’u’llah, and to hail the beginning of a new era in human unity. 

Happy Birthday of the Bab!

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