This is a Fantastic Friday for millions of Baha’is, and those who support the Faith, all over the world. Baha’is around the world will arise for prayers before sunup on March 2, the first of nineteen days of fasting, as they begin their yearly fasting period – an annual renewal of faith. It is a special time for prayer and also involves abstaining from food and drink between sunrise and sundown for 19 straight days. Members of the Baha’i Faith ages 15 to 70 observe the fast, which ends just before the Baha’i new year on March 21 unless you are exempt because you are traveling, nursing or ill.
Shoghi Effendi, the head of the Baha’i Faith from 1921 until his passing in 1957, described the fast in this way: “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.”
Baha’i fast is essentially a period of meditation and prayer. During these days of cleansing and detachment – the essence of the fast – one is spiritually removed from the dross of this world by concentrating thoughts on peace, unity, sacrifice, service, humility, and gratitude for these days of enrichment.
Any person can participate during this fast period, in fact many people who accept these principles, join the Bahai’s during these days of serenity.
A prayer for fasting:
“This is, O my God, the first of the days on which Thou hast bidden Thy loved ones to observe the Fast. I ask of Thee by Thy Self and by him who hath fasted out of love for Thee and for Thy good-pleasure – and not out of self and desire, nor out of fear of Thy wrath – and by Thy most excellent names and august attributes, to purify Thy servants ….” (excerpt from a Baha’i prayer for fasting, page 260)