Most religions have a time of giving. For Christians it’s Christmas, for Jews it’s Hanukkah and for the Baha’is it’s Ayyám-i-Há—a time of gift exchange and service from February 26 through March 1 each year. During Ayyám-i-Há, Baha’is engage in acts of charity, give gifts to friends and family and attend social gatherings. This year, fourteen Baha’is from NW Portland volunteered at the Oregon Food Bank as part of their yearly service project for Ayyám-i-Há. Along with other volunteer groups, they worked diligently to help pack 22,826 pounds of citrus—enough food for 17,558 meals for people in need.
Ayyám-i-Há is a time when Baha’is detach themselves from their material lives, offer service and charity and prepare themselves for the nineteen days of fasting to follow. The fasting period occurs from March 2 to March 20. It is a time of spiritual preparation and renewal. The Fast concludes with the Baha’i New Year celebration, Naw Ruz (“New Day” in Persian), on March 21, the day of the vernal equinox.
Baha’is strive to live by Baha’u’llah’s words:
…throughout these days (of Ayyám-i-Há), to provide good cheer for themselves, their kindred and, beyond them, the poor and needy, and with joy and exaltation to hail and glorify their Lord, to sing His praise and magnify His Name.