Pin It
Monday, February 25th, 2013

Ayyam-i-Ha: February 26-March 1


Ayyam-i-Ha (also called Intercalary Days) is a period of hospitality, charity and gift-giving for Baha’is that is celebrated from February 26 to March 1. This is a festive time where people give gifts–mainly to children, have parties and focus on charity. Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i faith, said of Ayyam-i-Ha, “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.”

 

The Baha’i­ calendar is a solar calendar (365 days in a year, 366 in leap years) consisting of nineteen months, each containing nineteen days. This leaves four days (five in leap years) that do not belong to any month and thus are “intercalary” (literally, “inserted”) days.

 

Ayyam-i-Ha prepares Baha’is for the fast, which begins March 2 and ends March 20. Like Muslims during Ramadan, Baha’is refrain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset, obligatory for all who are healthy and not traveling, with exemptions for pregnant and nursing mothers and those who are over 70. Fasting is a form of self-discipline and the fast is a time of prayer and meditation, during which Baha’is detach themselves from the things of this world and draw closer to God. Fasting reminds Baha’is of those who are poor and lack food, in order to be more compassionate and encourage charity. Bahai’s fast for 19 days (unlike Ramadan which is 30 days) and there is no obligation to make-up missed days of fasting as in Islam.

 

There are no prescribed ways of celebrating Ayyam-i-Ha. Baha’is have sought to avoid specific rituals that are not mandated in their scriptures and they have resisted commercializing their holidays. Baha’i families invent their own beautiful traditions each year for the four days of the celebration.

 

Ayyam-i-Ha Crafts
Make a bird feeder
Make an advent-style banner

 

Ayyam-i-Ha Recipes
Fesenjan–walnut pomegranate chicken

© 2013, The Editors. All rights reserved.

m4s0n501

More Great Stuff You'll Love:


A Different World: No Longer Brown in White America

Is it racist to not want to raise your kids in white America?

The African Guide to Co-sleeping

10 must-read tips on co-sleeping from Africa

How My Chinese Mother-in-Law Replaced my Husband

And why this is the number one fight in our household

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


InCultureParent is an online magazine for parent's raising little global citizens. Centered on global parenting culture and traditions, we feature articles on parenting around the world and on raising multicultural and multilingual children.

Leave us a comment!

4 Comments
  1. Commentsg Mak   |  Tuesday, 31 January 2012 at 12:22 am

    Hi,
    Your article is incorrect, the Baha’i celebration of ayyam’i’ha is not akin to christmas.
    The celebration of christmas is the celebration of christs birthday with coresponding gift giving and celebrations.
    The baha’is celebrate the birth of baha’u’llah on november 12th.
    The act of gift giving is not custom in the bahai faith, but rather a Persian custom of gift giving during the New Year of the Persian calendar which corresponds to the March equinox which has been adopted by many believers.

  2. CommentsThe Editors   |  Tuesday, 31 January 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Thanks for your comment and we appreciate the further explanation. We did not mean to imply that Ayyam-i-ha celebrates a birth of a religious figure, like Xmas, so perhaps it was not the best analogy-we will remove it. As for gift giving, it’s our understanding that many Baha’is give gifts on these days. Perhaps this is something that changes depending on the Baha’i community around the world? We would love to hear more thoughts on this!

  3. CommentsThe JillyBean   |  Friday, 24 February 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Maybe the confusion is that Christmas has over the last 1500 years become a cultural celebration and less so a religious observance. I find that many people “celebrate” Christmas by taking the time to share gifts and be with family, even though they are not religious (or in some cases agnostic/atheist). Growing up as a Baha’i, my family celebrated Christmas by doing community service and observing December 25th by reading about Christ rather than gifting ourselves.

    Ayyam-i-Ha is a social religious holiday, for the purpose of social fellowship and community service. In preparation for the fast that follows. The gifting part is common practice all over the world, the quantity of gifting varies, just like the custom of Christmas gifting varies in the US. Generally the gift giving in my experience is more a token and generally modest.

    I would also recommend that out of respect we not refer to Christmas as “Xmas” if the aim of this site is to raise “aware” children. It is someone’s holy day.

  4. Commentsdoctor   |  Wednesday, 29 February 2012 at 1:14 am

    I think the editors are right in celebrations. I don t follow this faith, but my son’s friend follow Baha i faith. We had a card explaining Ayyam-i-Ha (days of joy). It says “This is a holiday in Baha Faith 0that serves as a time of hospitality, fellowship, gift giving and service to others. (name of the boy) wanted to make something for the class so he has handmade cards with a quote on love and has given every classmate a pot with a hyacinth. We hope you like it”









Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!



French versus Italian Parenting in One Multicultural Family

How one mom in an intercultural marriage sees the differences between Italian and French parenting

The Cultural Battleground of Sleepovers

Should they be allowed because it's "normal?" Think again.

Are Parents Too Overprotective in the West and Too Lax in the East?

Would you pick up a stranger's child or is that invasive?

Does Religion Matter? Juggling Two Faiths in One Family

What's the best way to transmit the values we care about to our kids?

Amazing Portraits of Biracial Kids

Smarter, larger, better, healthier and more beautiful? A project that debunks stereotypes.

Dear White Officer, Please Don't Shoot

At what age does my darling black son begin to look like a threat to the world?

A Book that Celebrates Cross-Cultural Friendship

A great pick for back to school season

My Daughter’s 10 Favorite Multicultural Books

Does your shelf have these kid favorites?

I was Diagnosed with Cancer at Age 37 while Abroad with Kids

Illness in a foreign country can be scary but it taught this mom a different meaning of family.
[…] niet huilen, en wat zij ziet in Engeland, waar huilen zo normaal wordt gevonden in het artikel Why african babies don’t cry. In haar artikel geeft ze aan hoe in Kenia de norm is da...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
I live in America. Here the majority of my multi lingual experience has been with Spanish. My father was a prestigious chef and the majority of his coworkers were of Mexican decent. I jokingly refer...
From 10 Things Not to Say to Parents of Multilingual Children
As a mommy soldier I had a lot of different experiences. I too co slept with my 2 boys. I sleep trained my first at 6 months, but before that he was in my bed or 10% of the time in the bassinet next...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
I loved reading your story since it's similar in our household in terms of the amount of languages (Our languages are German, Braz. Portuguese, French and English). We are always treated a bit like ...
From Real Intercultural Family in Thailand: Portuguese, Cantonese, Thai and Japanese
This young man is 50X more likely to be shot by another African American. You are focused on the wrong problem and diverting attention from the real tragedy. Young men with no fathers and no family....
From Dear White Officer, Please Don’t Shoot
[…] InCultureParent | 10 Healthy Kid Snacks From Around the World – Kids Around the World; Crafts; Recipes; Blogs; Monday, June 20th, 2011 10 Healthy Kid Snacks From Around the World By Step...
From 10 Healthy Kid Snacks From Around the World
Oh man, sleepovers are so fun! I too didn’t realize this could ever be an issue, I mean why not? It isn’t like you let your precious child sleep at a friend’s house when they are toddlers (pen...
From The Cultural Battleground of Sleepovers
We used to live in France. As I'm bilingual (French - English), I figured that it would be best that I talk English to my kids aged 7, 5 and 2. So, I spoke English with them ever since their birth, ...
From Why Your Bilingual Child Objects When You Switch Languages
Hi Barbara, I don't know anyone homesteading or planning to homestead at the moment, but I will keep my feelers out and keep you updated. I can put you in touch with other families from the farm...
From How I Moved to Thailand with my Family on Less than $1000

More Global Celebrations