The Bahá’í calendar is as follows: 19 months of 19 days. That makes 361 days. I know. The remaining days to make it up to 365 are called the 'intercalary days' or Ayyam-i-Há (in Farsi). The intercalary days are a time to prepare for the month of the Fast which always starts on the 2nd of March, they are also a period of the year when you give presents to your loved ones and you show hospitality to others. It is a joyful period and there are usually a lot of potluck dinners going on here!
The Fast is a period where you enrich yourself spiritually.
In a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States in 1936, we read that:
"The fasting period, which lasts nineteen days starting as a rule from the second of March every year and ending on the twentieth of the same month, involves complete abstention from food and drink from sunrise till sunset. It essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recuperation, during which the believer must strive to make the necessary readjustments in his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in his soul. Its significance and purpose are, fundamentally spiritual in character. Fasting is symbolic, and a reminder of abstinence from selfish and carnal desired."
Now, back to the New Year. The Bahá’ís entered the year 164 on the 21st of March. 164 because the Bahá’í calendar started at the time of the Báb – He created the calendar, and the year 1 coincides with the year his mission began, in 1844. It is all a bit more complicated or should I say detailed than what I have just written, but in any case it gives you a bit of an idea…
Happy New Year to you all!!!