For Bahá’ís, the Birth of Baha’u’llah is a Holy Day celebrating the birth of the prophet founder of the Baha’i Faith and the rebirth of the world through the love of God. In many respects, it is a day similar to the Christian observance of Christmas.
Baha’u’llah (ba-haw-oo-LAW), was born on 12 November 1817 in Teheran, Persia (Iran). His given name was Husayn-‘Ali and He later became known to the world as Baha’u’llah, an Arabic word meaning "The Glory of God". He taught that Manifestations of God – including Moses, Abraham, Christ, Muhammad, Krishna and Buddha – have appeared at intervals throughout history; that these Manifestations of God have been sent by a loving Creator to help us know and worship Him and to bring human civilization to ever-higher levels of achievement.
Baha’u’’lah’s central message is one of unity and justice:
“Love ye all religions and all races with a love that is true and sincere and show that love through deeds”
‘Abdul-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdul-Bahá, p. 69
The day of the Birth of Baha’u’llah and the day of His Ascension (May 29) are two of nine Holy Days in the Baha’i calendar during which Baha’is should suspend work and school.
Because days in the Bahá’í calendar start at sunset, the celebration of the Birth of Baha’u’llah starts on the evening of November 11 and proceeds until sunset on November 12.
As is true of Baha’i holy days generally, there are no prescribed rituals for the celebration/observance of the Birth of Baha’u’llah. The day is usually observed by abstaining from work and with community gatherings where prayers, devotional readings, music and food are shared. The celebration of the Birth of Baha’u’llah is seen by Baha’is as a time for rejoicing together; for increasing the unity of their community.
The folks at Adherents.com tell us that there are well over 7 million people of Baha’i Faith globally.