This blogpost series is called Holidays and Holy Days to inform our OSU community about significant religious and spiritual observances.  If you know of a significant holiday or holy day coming up, please communicate the information to Hannah Pynn hannah.pynn@oregonstate.edu in the Dean of Student Life office.

March 2-20th, 2013 is the Nineteen-Day Fast of the Bahá’í faith.

Context

The Nineteen-Day Fast is one of the most important components of the Bahá’í practice for individuals aged 15-70.  The fast lasts from sunrise to sunset and is meant to bring Bahá’í’s closer to God through a physical and spiritual reinvigoration. Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Bahá’í faith, established the guidelines of the fast to occur during the last month of the Bahá’í 19 month calendar. The fast is an individual obligation with exceptions for the ill, travelers, those outside of the age range of 15-70, pregnant or nursing women, and women who are menstruating (who are required to observe the practice in another way).

Significance

Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá’í faith, explains that “It is 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, therefore, fundamentally spiritual in character. Fasting is symbolic, and a reminder of abstinence from selfish and carnal desires.”

 

Baha’i 19 Month Calendar

Rituals/Traditions

  1. The period of fasting begins with the end of the Intercalary Days and ends with the festival of Naw-Ruz (the Bahá’í new year)
  2. Fasting includes abstinence from food, drink and smoking from sunrise to sunset
  3. Bahá’í’s rise early to eat protein, complex carbs, and caffeine to sustain them throughout the day
  4. If someone accidentally eats during fasting hours, it is not considered breaking fast as it is an accident
  5. In regions of high latitude, the times of the fast are fixed by the clock rather than by the sun schedule
  6. Many Bahá’í’s take this time to appreciate the simple things
Additional Resources

Rainn Wilson offers his perspective on his Bahá’í Fasting practice - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rainn-wilson/bahai-fast-slowly_b_2811057.html

Facts about the 19 Day Fast - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Day_Fast

A daily fasting blog - http://nineteendays.wordpress.com/

Brief summary of the fast - http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/bahai/customs/fasting.shtml

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