Canadian Baha’is celebrate the festival of Intercalary Days

From sunset February 25th to sunset March 1st, Baha’is across Canada and around the world will celebrate the festival of Intercalary Days, marking a special occasion that often includes gatherings with family and friends, helping those in need through acts of charity, and spreading joy by giving gifts. These days are celebratory and are typically focused on hospitality and generosity, and Baha’is in neighbourhoods all across the country will be opening their homes for fellowship and holding joyous events.

The intercalary days align the Baha’i calendar with the 365-day Gregorian solar calendar. The Baha’i calendar is based on a solar year that consists of 19 months of 19 days each. As decreed by Baha’u’llah, the Prophet-Founder of the Baha’i Faith, the intercalary days are four in number (five in a leap year), and occur between the 18th and 19th months of the calendar, thereby completing the duration of a solar cycle.

The festival also serves as a period of spiritual preparation for the annual Baha’i fast (March 2nd-20th), when Baha’is abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset, and for Naw-Ruz (March 21st), the Baha’i new year, celebrated on the first day of spring.

In setting out the spiritual purpose of Ayyam-i-Ha, Baha’u’llah stated that Baha’is are expected “…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 size and style of the celebrations vary with the diversity of each community worldwide. Some communities organize big events in community centres; others hold celebrations in their homes; many contribute to social projects such as supporting food banks and helping families learn to prepare healthy meals. In doing so, Baha’is are motivated by the desire to serve their communities — an ongoing process in which Baha’is along with their friends and neighbours work together to promote the well-being and prosperity of the whole community.

Visit the Building Community website to hear from children, youth and adults from across Canada who are engaged in community-building initiatives.