From sunset Feb. 25 to sunset March 1, Baha’is will be exchanging gifts, getting together with friends and family, and engaging in acts of charity – activities that characterize the festival of Ayyam-i-Ha.
The festival comes toward the end of the Baha’i year, which is divided into 19 months of 19 days each. These “intercalary” days, between the 18th and 19th months of the Baha’i calendar, align the calendar with the solar cycle.
Ayyam-i-Ha means “Days of Ha.” “Ha” has several meanings in Arabic, including reference to God or the “Essence of God.” Baha’is celebrate the sacred days of Ayyam-i-Ha through acts of love, fellowship, unity, charity and goodwill.
The intercalary days of Ayyami-i-Ha “stand apart from the ordinary cycle of weeks and months and the human measure of time,” says Karla Jamir, a Baha’i in Virginia. “Thus Ayyam-i-Ha can be thought of as days outside of time, days that symbolize eternity, infinity and the mystery and unknowable Essence of God Himself.”
Baha’u’llah has 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.” Appropriately, Ayyam-i-Ha spiritually sets the stage for the annual Baha’i Fast, which goes from March 2 to March 20. Naw-Ruz, the Baha’i new year, begins on March 21, the first day of spring.