Anticipation mounts: A guide for 72 hours of bicentenary coverage

October 24, 2019

BAHA'I WORLD CENTRE — On Monday at sunset in the Line Islands in Kiribati, a global community will begin a period of celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Bab, the Prophet-Herald of the Baha’i Faith.

From the small island nations in the Pacific, celebrations will then spread across Australasia, Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas, as sunset moves westward with the rotation of the earth. With sunset on the following day, the world will begin celebrating the birth of Baha’u’llah, Who was born 202 years ago in 1817.

The birthdays of the Bab and Baha’u’llah occur back-to-back on the Baha’i calendar and are referred to as the “Twin Birthdays.” The Baha’i writings state that “these two days are accounted as one in the sight of God.”

72 hours of celebrations

Baha’i Holy Days are held from sunset to sunset. This year, the birthday of the Bab begins at sunset on 28 October and ends at sunset on 29 October, when the birthday of Baha’u’llah begins.

In any given city, the total time marking the celebrations is 48 hours, or two whole days (sunset 28 October to sunset 30 October). But globally, the total period for the two holy days lasts 72 hours. This is because around the earth each day’s first sunset over land occurs in the Line Islands, just west of the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean; the last sunset is in the Hawaiian island of Kauai, which lies just east of the International Date Line.

The International Date Line, which is an artificial marker demarcating the change of one calendar day to the next, runs from north to south. It takes three rotations of the earth, 72 hours, to cover two sunsets across the planet (see graphic).

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This graphic explains why the bicentenary celebrations worldwide last 72 hours.

Staying connected to celebrations worldwide

The bicentenary celebrations across the planet open a window into the diversity of the human family and its essential oneness.

As the earth spins on its axis and celebrations begin in different lands, the world can be updated with information on the festivities occurring in particular places.

The international website Bicentenary.Bahai.org, launched last month, will begin covering bicentenary celebrations around the world at Monday’s sundown in Kiribati, that is 4:15 a.m. GMT. The site will be regularly updated with glimpses into the celebrations in more than 100 countries.

Currently, the site features articles on the lives and teachings of the Bab and Baha’u’llah, a special letter from the Universal House of Justice about the historic anniversary, and Dawn of the Light, the film commissioned for the bicentenary.

The website is available in 10 languages—Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hindi, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swahili.

In addition to the website, the following platforms will publish stories, photos, and videos from or related to the bicentenary:

  1. The Bahá’í World News Service: bwns.org

  2. YouTube: youtube.com/thebahaifaith

  3. Instagram: @twinbirthdays

  4. Facebook: facebook.com/twinbirthdays

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The @twinbirthdays Instagram page provides updates of bicentenary celebrations and preparations around the world.