The Origins and Practices of Holidays: Ascension of Bahau’llah & Ascension of Jesus

Ascension of Baha'u'llah - May 29, 2019

From the evening of May 28, 2019 through May 29, 2019, Bahá’ís around the world will celebrate the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh. The holiday commemorates the anniversary of the death of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith. Baha’u’llah was seventy-five years old when he passed away on May 29, 1892.

At the age of 27, Bahá'u'lláh became a follower of the Báb, a Persian merchant who began preaching that God would soon send a new prophet similar to Jesus. The Báb and many of his followers were executed by the Ottoman authorities for their beliefs. Bahá'u'lláh was exiled for the same reason, despite this, in 1863 he declared that he was the expected prophet the Báb spoke of. Since then, Bahá'ís have seen Bahá'u'lláh to be a Manifestation of God.

Bahá'u'lláh was imprisoned by Ottoman authorities, first in Edirne, and then in the prison city of Acre, (present-day Israel), where he spent his final 24 years of life. On May 9, 1892, Bahá'u'lláh contracted a fever which became progressively worse, and resulted in his death. Just after sunset on the day he passed away, Bahá’u’lláh was buried in a simple room in a house next to the Mansion of Bahjí in Arce, where he resided. His burial place is a destination of pilgrimage for his followers, and the Bahá'í World Centre sits in nearby Haifa. Bahá'u'lláh named Abdu’l-Bahá as his successor and head of the Bahá’í Faith. This was the first time in history that the founder of a world religion had named his successor in a written irrefutable text. This choice of a successor is central to what is known as the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh.

When Baha’u’llah passed, many wondered if the newly founded Bahá’í Faith would survive. However, not only did it survive, it thrived, growing rapidly and spreading throughout the world.  

Baha’is will celebrate the Ascension of Baha’u’llah by gathering together in devotion and prayer. These meetings have a somber and meditative tone in remembrance of Baha’u’llah. The Ascension of Baha’u’llah is also one of the nine holy days of the year when work and school is suspended.

Learn more with the books below. 

Baha''u''llah

Baháʹuʹlláh and the New Era

Ascension of Jesus - May 30, 2019

The Ascension of Jesus, also known as Ascension Day or Holy Thursday, is a Christian holiday. Ascension day takes place exactly forty days after Easter. According to the Bible, after Jesus’ resurrection, he traveled and preached with his apostles. This was to prepare them for his departure from Earth. On the 40th day after Easter, Jesus ascended into heaven.

Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate this day a week later (June 6). This is due to the difference between the Julian calendar that they follow, and the Gregorian calendar that Western churches follow.

For most Protestants, Ascension Day is not a major event, but it is a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics. This means that Catholics are required to attend Mass on this day. Because of this, some Catholic dioceses list Ascension day on the Sunday after to allow more people to attend Mass. Some dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Boston, continue to celebrate this feast day on the original Thursday.

Like other Holy Days of Obligation, Catholics are encouraged to spend the day in prayer and contemplation. Holy days are also called feast days, and they are traditionally celebrated with food. As a result, some people choose to celebrate this day with a picnic after Mass.

Learn more with the items below:

Hymns for Ascension-Day

On the Ascension

If there's a particular celebration you or someone you know participates in that we missed, let us know by leaving a comment on this post. Or, if you think we got something wrong, please also comment and let us know. We try to be as accurate as possible, but if there's a mistake, we want to correct it.

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Boston Public Library