The Bahá'í 19-Day Feast
What Is It?
The monthly Bahá'í Feast occurs every 19 days when all members of the local Bahá'í community gather to share devotions, consultation and fellowship.
Bahá'í communities hold Feast, normally, on the first day of the Bahá'í month, each of which is 19 days long. Hence, the term "19-Day Feast." Under adverse or abnormal circumstances, the Feast Day may be postponed to another day, but it is important that the Feast be conducted.
The Universal House of Justice wrote in 1989:
The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh encompasses all units of human society; integrates the spiritual, administrative and social processes of life; and canalizes human expression in its varied forms toward the construction of a new civilization. The Nineteen Day Feast embraces all these aspects at the very base of society. Functioning in the village, the town, the city, it is an institution of which all the people of Bahá are members. It is intended to promote unity, ensure progress, and foster joy.
The importance and character of the institution of the Feast are clearly emphasized in the Holy Scriptures of Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá.
Three parts of the Feast are the devotional, the consultative, and the social. During the devotional portion, members of the community read, recite or chant prayers and other Holy Scripture, primarily from the Writings of the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh and Abdu'l-Bahá, although Scripture from previous Revelations may be read occasionally.
The consultative, sometimes referred to as the administrative, portion of the Feast normally follows the devotional and involves the entire community hearing and discussing reports from the local Spiritual Assembly, correspondence from around the world, events of interest to the Faith and the world, with emphasis on Bahá'í principles. The chairman of the Spiritual Assembly assumes the responsibility of seeing that everyone has an opportunity to express his or her thoughts. The Spiritual Assembly recording secretary keeps notes so that recommendations from the community may be taken back to the Assembly for further discussion and decision.
The social portion of the Feast gives everyone further opportunity to discuss the topics of the Spiritual Texts that were read during the devotional portion and the administrative tasks ahead of the community as indicated during the consultative portion. The host serves refreshments during the social portion of the Feast.
Attendance at Feast is not required, but is considered very important. Generally, only enrolled Bahá'ís may attend the Nineteen Day Feast.