Nashville Baha’is celebrate holy period with 19-Day fast and New Year

The Davidson County Baha’i community celebrates a major holy period Feb. 26 to March 21 with preparation, 19-days of daytime fasting and the Baha’i New Year. The Naw-Ruz celebration will take place on Friday, March 21 at 7 pm at the Baha’i Center, 1556 Bell Road, Nashville, Tenn. 37211.

From Feb. 26–March 1, Baha’is prepare for their important fasting period through celebration, hospitality, charity and gift giving. This period is called Intercalary Days or Ayyam-i-Ha.

From March 2-20, Nashville Baha’is observe their annual 19-Day Fast by refraining from eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset. As in many world religions, the Fast is a time for reflecting on one’s spiritual progress and making an effort to detach from material desires. Baha’is between ages 15 and 70 rise before dawn to eat breakfast and pray. At sunset, they enjoy a customary meal, often joining friends to break the fast. Fasting exemptions are made for illness, pregnancy, nursing mothers, extended travel and arduous physical labor.

After sundown on March 20, Baha’is celebrate Naw-Ruz, the start of their New Year. This is an ancient Persian festival celebrating the ‘new day’ and for Baha’is, it marks the end of the 19-Day Fast and is one of nine Baha’i holy days on which work and school are suspended. Baha’is observe Naw-Ruz through prayer, meditation, readings from Baha’i scripture and festive gatherings.

The Baha’i Faith is the youngest of the world’s independent monotheistic religions and one of the fastest-growing with more than five million worldwide and about 170,000 members in the United States.

The Bahá’í Faith has been an active part of religious and social life in middle Tennessee since the 1930s.

The Baha’is are a recognized advocate for spiritual solutions based on the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh on issues such as the elimination of all forms of prejudice with an emphasis on race unity, the equality of women and men, the spiritual education of children, the importance of family cohesion, and the establishment of world peace.

Baha’is view the world’s major religions as part of a single, progressive process through which God reveals His will to humanity. Major Baha’i tenets include one loving creator, the oneness of humanity, equality of men and women, eradication of prejudice, harmony of science and religion, universal education and world peace. To learn more about the Baha’i Faith, check or .

To understand the Baha’i Faith in America, check the Religion Newswriters Association’s ‘Source Guide on the Baha’i Faith’ at .