Baha'i terrace, Mt Carmel, Israel
Baha’i terraces
Mt Carmel, Haifa, Israel

O Pen of the Most High! Say: O people of the world! We have enjoined upon you fasting during a brief period, and at its close have designated for you Naw-Ruz as a feast.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Kitab-i-Aqdas)

Naw-Ruz (‘new day’) is the first day of Farvardin, the first month of the Iranian solar year; since ancient times it has been the great national holiday of Iran, the only festival celebrated by more than one religious group, including the Baha’is. Both the founder of the Baha’i movement, Baha’u’allah and his predecessor, the Bab, observed Naw-Ruz.

Baha’u’allah defined Naw-Ruz as the day on which the vernal equinox occurs, however nowadays the date of the festival is fixed as 21 March for Baha’is in all countries outside the Middle East, regardless of the exact moment of the equinox.

Naw-Ruz is one of the nine Baha’i holy days on which work is to be suspended. Generally beginning with a meeting for prayer and celebration, the observance of the festival usually includes a special dinner, since the sunset that initiates the New Year also marks the ending of the nineteen day Baha’i fast.

See also Jamshedi Noruz.