Baha'i News -- Bahá.i calendar.s extra days to be celebrated

Bahá.i calendar.s extra days to be celebrated

by Zhaia Wineinger
Special to the Daily
February 26, 2002

A local religious group will be celebrating extra days of the calendar.

Called "Ayyam-i-Ha," which is Arabic for Intercalary Days, the four extra days - five in a leap year - are only on the Bahá'i calendar. Bahá'i is an independent religion that believes all of humanity is one single race.

Since the Bahá'i mark days from sunset to sunset, the Intercalary Days began at sunset Feb. 25, which is considered Feb. 26 to the Bahá'i, and ends on March 1, or March 2 to the Bahá'i, said Amelia Mease, president of the ISU Bahá'i Student Association and sophomore in biology.

"The Intercalary Days are designated for the giving of gifts, hospitality, feasting, rejoicing and charity," said Pat Whiteford, an Ames' Bahá'i.

"The Intercalary Days immediately precede the last month of the Bahá'i calendar, which is a month of fasting."

March 21 is the first day of the 159th year of the Bahá'is.

Mease said the Bahá'i calendar started in 1844, with the Declaration of the Bab, who was the Herald of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the faith.

"[Bahá'i has] a belief in the doctrine of progressive revelation . God sends messengers at different times, in different places, to help human beings progress," Whiteford said.

Both Mease and Whiteford said the people believe in the equality of all races as well as in the equality of women and men.

"We believe in the oneness of God and the oneness of humanity," Mease said.

The Bahá'i faith is the second-most widespread religion behind Christianity, Mease said.

"There is no clergy in the Bahá'i faith," Whiteford said. "There was an administrative structure ordained by Bahá'u'lláh, the [Bahá'i] prophet."

Aubrey Scott, freshman in food science, said her parents are Bahá'i and she was born into the faith. Mease was also born into the faith.

Even though they were born into the faith, Mease said Bahá'is believe the relationship between God and oneself is a personal choice. Mease said she became a member of the faith at the age of 15, the Bahá'i age of maturity. Mease signed the Bahá'i membership card and became an official member of the faith.

Whiteford said she found the Bahá'i faith "in the midst of an intense search for a spiritual home.

"It just fit," she said.

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