The Baha’i Fast
February 28 - March 19
The Nineteen-Day Fast is a nineteen-day period of the year during which members of the Baháʼí Faith adhere to a sunrise-to-sunset fast. Along with obligatory prayer, it is one of the greatest obligations of a Baháʼí, and its chief purpose is spiritual: to reinvigorate the soul and bring the person closer to God. The fast was instituted by the Báb, and accepted by Baháʼu’lláh, the founder of the Baháʼí Faith, who stated its rules in his book of laws, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. The nineteen days of fasting occur immediately before the beginning of the Baháʼí New Year, on the vernal equinox (19–21 March, depending on the year).
Along with obligatory prayer, it is one of the greatest obligations of a Baháʼí and is intended to bring the person closer to God. Shoghi Effendi, the head of the Baháʼí Faith in the first half of the 20th century, explains that the fast “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.”
Smith, Peter (2000). “Fasting”. A concise encyclopedia of the Baháʼí Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 157. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
Baháʼu’lláh (1992) . The Kitáb-i-Aqdas: The Most Holy Book. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Baháʼí Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-85398-999-0.