The only regular Baha’i activity which might be considered a religious service is the Feast. The Feast, which is held once every nineteen days, consists of three portions. The spiritual portion involves the reading of prayers. The administrative portion is a discussion of community business, and the material portion is the sharing of refreshments and fellowship.
Baha’u’llah established a new calendar with nineteen months of nineteen days each and four “intercalary” days to adjust to the solar year. Therefore, the Baha’i community’s monthly gatherings are known as the Nineteen Day Feast.
The Baha’i year begins at the vernal equinox, the first day of spring (March 21 or 22), rather than January 1 as observed in the Gregorian calendar. This new year’s day, referred to as Naw-Ruz, is followed by other holy days throughout the year. At these times Baha’is, if possible, suspend work and gather to commemorate important events in Baha’i history such as the birth and death of the Manifestation. There are no set rituals or ceremonies in these observances; they usually involve reading prayers, reviewing historical anecdotes about the occasion, and sharing fellowship.
The most frequent gathering which Baha’is attend is a weekly “fireside.” Firesides ordinarily take place in a believer’s home and consist of a brief talk or discussion on a Baha’ topic, followed by refreshments and fellowship. Firesides are the most common formal teaching activity in Baha’i communities, and are open to anyone interested in the Baha’i Faith.