February 23, 2014

Ayyám-i-Há: A time for feasting, rejoicing, gift giving, hospitality and charity

The exchanging of presents among believers or the giving of gifts to children is not an integral part of any of our nine Bahá'í Holy Days. There is no prohibition against it, and it is, as you say, a custom among Persian believers such as the Bahá'í to whom you spoke, to exchange gifts at Naw-Ruz.

The desire of you and your husband to associate the time of gift giving with your children's involvement in the faith of Bahá'u'lláh is praiseworthy and it is felt that the following extract from a letter written by the secretary of the beloved Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New Zealand on December 26, 1941 will be of value to you:

'The intercalary days are specifically set aside for hospitality, the giving of gifts, etc., Bahá'u'lláh Himself specified that they be used this way, but gave no explanation for it.'

In 'The Bahá'í World', Vol. XV, p. 691 we read: Bahá'u'lláh designated those days as the 'Ayyam-i-Ha and ordained that they should immediately precede the month of 'Ala, which is the month of fasting. He enjoined upon His followers to devote these days to feasting, rejoicing, and charity.' 
(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, January 18, 1982; Compilation: Lights of Guidance)