O Angel of light! Sound a blast upon the trumpet at the advent of this Revelation, for the letter Há’ hath been joined to the letter of ancient glory.1 Praise be to Thee, O Thou Who art “He”, O Thou besides Whom there is none but “He”!(Bahá'u'lláh , Lawḥ-i-Náqús - Tablet Of The Bell, Days of Remembrance)
 That is, the letter “B” in the name “Bahá”.
O First Letter of this Temple, betokening the Essence of Divinity! We have made thee the treasury of My Will and the repository of My Purpose unto all who are in the kingdoms of revelation and creation. This is but a token of the grace of Him Who is the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.(Bahá'u'lláh , The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, Súriy-i-Haykal)
Revealed by the “Bá’” and the “Há’.”2 Peace be upon him that inclineth his ear unto the melody of the Mystic Bird calling from the Sadratu’l-Muntahá! Glorified be our Lord, the Most High!(Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitáb-i-Íqán – The Book of Certitude, closing words)
 B and H meaning Bahá.
ALL praise be to the sanctified Lord Who hath illumined the world through the splendours of the Daystar of His grace. From the letter “B” He hath made the Most Great Ocean to appear, and from the letter “H” He hath caused His inmost Essence to be made manifest. He is that Almighty One Whose purpose the might of men can never hope to frustrate and the flow of Whose utterance the hosts of kings are powerless to halt.(Bahá'u'lláh,The Tabernacle of Unity)
O Son Of Justice! In the night-season the beauty of the immortal Being hath repaired from the emerald height of fidelity unto the Sadratu’l-Muntahá, and wept with such a weeping that the concourse on high and the dwellers of the realms above wailed at His lamenting. Whereupon there was asked, Why the wailing and weeping? He made reply: As bidden I waited expectant upon the hill of faithfulness, yet inhaled not from them that dwell on earth the fragrance of fidelity. Then summoned to return I beheld, and lo! certain doves of holiness were sore tried within the claws of the dogs of earth. Thereupon the Maid of heaven hastened forth unveiled and resplendent from Her mystic mansion, and asked of their names, and all were told but one. And when urged, the first letter thereof was uttered, whereupon the dwellers of the celestial chambers rushed forth out of their habitation of glory. And whilst the second letter was pronounced they fell down, one and all, upon the dust. At that moment a voice was heard from the inmost shrine: “Thus far and no farther.” Verily We bear witness to that which they have done and now are doing.(The Hidden Words, From the Persian #77)
My God, my Fire and my Light! The days which Thou hast named the Ayyám-i-Há (the Days of Ha, Intercalary days) in Thy Book have begun, O Thou Who art the King of names, and the fast which Thy most exalted Pen hath enjoined unto all who are in the kingdom of Thy creation to observe is approaching. I entreat Thee, O my Lord, by these days and by all such as have during that period clung to the cord of Thy commandments, and laid hold on the handle of Thy precepts, to grant that unto every soul may be assigned a place within the precincts of Thy court, and a seat at the revelation of the splendors of the light of Thy countenance.
These, O my Lord, are Thy servants whom no corrupt inclination hath kept back from what Thou didst send down in Thy Book. They have bowed themselves before Thy Cause, and received Thy Book with such resolve as is born of Thee, and observed what Thou hadst prescribed unto them, and chosen to follow that which had been sent down by Thee.
Thou seest, O my Lord, how they have recognized and confessed whatsoever Thou hast revealed in Thy Scriptures. Give them to drink, O my Lord, from the hands of Thy graciousness the waters of Thine eternity. Write down, then, for them the recompense ordained for him that hath immersed himself in the ocean of Thy presence, and attained unto the choice wine of Thy meeting.
I implore Thee, O Thou the King of kings and the Pitier of the downtrodden, to ordain for them the good of this world and of the world to come. Write down for them, moreover, what none of Thy creatures hath discovered, and number them with those who have circled round Thee, and who move about Thy throne in every world of Thy worlds.
Thou, truly, art the Almighty, the All-Knowing, the All-Informed.(Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, XLV)
O Pen of the Most High! Say: O people of the world! We have enjoined upon you fasting during a brief period, and at its close have designated for you Naw-Ruz as a feast. Thus hath the Day-Star of Utterance shone forth above the horizon of the Book as decreed by Him Who is the Lord of the beginning and the end. Let the days in excess of the months be placed before the month of fasting. We have ordained that these, amid all nights and days, shall be the manifestations of the letter Ha, and thus they have not been bounded by the limits of the year and its months. It behoveth the people of Baha, throughout these days, to provide good cheer for themselves, their kindred and, beyond them, the poor and needy, and with joy and exultation to hail and glorify their Lord, to sing His praise and magnify His Name; and when they end --these days of giving that precede the season of restraint--let them enter upon the Fast. Thus hath it been ordained by Him Who is the Lord of all mankind. The traveller, the ailing, those who are with child or giving suck, are not bound by the Fast; they have been exempted by God as a token of His grace. He, verily, is the Almighty, the Most Generous.
These are the ordinances of God that have been set down in the Books and Tablets by His Most Exalted Pen. Hold ye fast unto His statutes and commandments, and be not of those who, following their idle fancies and vain imaginings, have clung to the standards fixed by their own selves, and cast behind their backs the standards laid down by God. Abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sundown, and beware lest desire deprive you of this grace that is appointed in the Book.(Bahá'u'lláh , The Kitáb-i-Aqdas - The Most Holy Book)
The Badi' calendar is based on the solar year of 365 days, 5 hours, and 50 odd minutes. The year consists of 19 months of 19 days each (i.e. 361 days), with the addition of four extra days (five in a leap year). The Báb did not specifically define the place for the intercalary days in the new calendar. The Kitáb-i-Aqdas resolves this question by assigning the “excess” days a fixed position in the calendar immediately preceding the month of ‘Alá’, the period of fasting. For further details see the section on the Bahá’í calendar in The Bahá’í World, volume XVIII. (The Kitáb-i-Aqdas – notes #27)
Known as the Ayyám-i-Há (the Days of Ha), the Intercalary Days have the distinction of being associated with "the letter Há ". The abjad numerical value of this Arabic letter is five, which corresponds to the potential number of intercalary days.
The letter "Há " has been given several spiritual meanings in the Holy Writings, among which is as a symbol of the Essence of God.(The Kitáb-i-Aqdas – notes #28)
Bahá'u'lláh enjoined upon His followers to devote these days to feasting, rejoicing and charity. In a letter written on Shoghi Effendi's behalf it is explained that "the intercalary days are specially set aside for hospitality, the giving of gifts, etc.".(The Kitáb-i-Aqdas – notes #29)
The Bahá’í calendar, known as the Badí‘ calendar, was introduced by the Báb and subsequently confirmed by Bahá’u’lláh, Who fixed its commencement at the year of the Báb’s declaration, 1844 (A.H. 1260). As the Bahá’í Era was inaugurated by twin Founders, the Bahá’í Holy Days include events pertaining to the birth, declaration, and passing of both Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb. In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the principal repository of the laws of His Revelation, Bahá’u’lláh designates the two “Most Great Festivals”: Riḍván, “the King of Festivals”, commemorating the declaration of His prophetic mission during a period of twelve days, three of which are observed as Holy Days, and the Declaration of the Báb, the event that initiates the Bahá’í Era. Also named as festivals in that same Book are Naw-Rúz and the anniversaries of the Birth of the Báb and of Bahá’u’lláh. The anniversary of the Martyrdom of the Báb was commemorated as a Holy Day during the lifetime of Bahá’u’lláh, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá added the observance of the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh.(Days of Remembrance, Preface)
THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
10 July 2014
To the Bahá’ís of the World
Dearly loved Friends,
The setting of the sun on 20 March 2015 will signalize the end of the year 171, the close of the ninth Váḥid of the first Kull-i-Shay’ of the Bahá’í Era. We call upon the Bahá’ís of the East and West to adopt, on that auspicious occasion, the provisions that will unite them in the common implementation of the Badí‘ calendar.
In keeping with the principle governing the gradual unfoldment and progressive application of the Teachings, the provisions of the Badí‘ calendar have been set forth over time. The Báb introduced the calendar and its broad pattern of periods and cycles, months and days. Bahá’u’lláh provided essential clarifications and additions. Aspects were elucidated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and arrangements for its adoption in the West were put in place at the direction of Shoghi Effendi, as described in the volumes of The Bahá’í World. Still, ambiguities surrounding some Islamic and Gregorian dates, as well as difficulties in the correlation of historical observances and astronomical events with explicit statements in the Text, left certain issues unresolved. When responding to questions concerning the calendar, both ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi left these matters to the Universal House of Justice. Of its many features, three require clarification for the calendar’s uniform application: the means for the determination of Naw-Rúz, the accommodation of the lunar character of the Twin Holy Birthdays within the solar year, and the fixing of the dates of the Holy Days within the Badí‘ calendar.
“The Festival of Naw-Rúz falleth on the day that the sun entereth the sign of Aries,” Bahá’u’lláh explains in His Most Holy Book, “even should this occur no more than one minute before sunset.” However, details have, until now, been left undefined. We have decided that Ṭihrán, the birthplace of the Abhá 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-Rúz for the Bahá’í world.
The Festivals of the Twin Birthdays, the Birth of the Báb and the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh, have, in the East, been traditionally observed according to their correspondence to the first and second days of Muḥarram in the Islamic calendar. “These two days are accounted as one in the sight of God”, Bahá’u’lláh affirms. Yet, a letter written on behalf of the Guardian states, “In the future, no doubt all of the Holy Days will follow the Solar calendar, and provisions be made as to how the Twin Festivals will be celebrated universally.” How to satisfy the intrinsic lunar character of these blessed Days within the context of a solar calendar has hitherto been unanswered. We have decided that they will now be observed on the first and the second day following the occurrence of the eighth new moon after Naw-Rúz, as determined in advance by astronomical tables using Ṭihrán as the point of reference. This will result in the observance of the Twin Birthdays moving, year to year, within the months of Mashíyyat, ‘Ilm, and Qudrat of the Badí‘ calendar, or from mid-October to mid-November according to the Gregorian calendar. Next year, the Birth of the Báb will occur on 10 Qudrat and the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh on 11 Qudrat. With joy and eager anticipation, we look to the upcoming bicentennial anniversaries of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh and the Birth of the Báb, in 174 and 176 B.E., respectively, which the entire Bahá’í world will celebrate according to a common calendar.
The dates of the remaining Holy Days will be fixed within the solar calendar in accordance with explicit statements of Bahá’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and Shoghi Effendi; we have decided to set aside certain discrepancies in the historical record. The dates are: Naw-Rúz, 1 Bahá; the Festival of Riḍván, 13 Jalál to 5 Jamál; the Declaration of the Báb, 8 ‘Aẓamat; the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh, 13 ‘Aẓamat; the Martyrdom of the Báb, 17 Raḥmat; the Day of the Covenant, 4 Qawl; and the Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, 6 Qawl.
Unless specifically abrogated by these new provisions, previous guidance and clarifications pertaining to the calendar and the observance of the Nineteen Day Feast and Holy Days remain binding, such as the beginning of the day at sunset, the suspension of work, and the hours at which certain Holy Days are commemorated. In future, a change in circumstances may well require additional measures.
It will be evident from the decisions delineated that Bahá’ís of both East and West will find some elements of the calendar to be different from those to which they have been accustomed. The alignment of the dates of the Badí‘ calendar with other calendars will shift depending on the occurrence of Naw-Rúz. The number of days of Ayyám-i-Há will vary according to the timing of the vernal equinox in successive years; the year commencing on Naw-Rúz 172 B.E. will include four such days. A table prepared at the Bahá’í World Centre that sets out the dates for Naw-Rúz and the Twin Holy Birthdays covering half a century will be provided to all National Spiritual Assemblies in due course.
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-Rúz will mark yet another historic step in the manifestation of the unity of the people of Bahá and the unfoldment of Bahá’u’lláh’s World Order.
[signed: The Universal House of Justice]
"My soul despises your New Moons and your appointed festivals." (Isa. 1:14)