Birth of the Báb (20th October)
Thousands of Bahá'í followers around the world celebrate the birth of the Báb on 20th October.
Báb, which literally translates as 'the gate', was a prophet and forerunner of the Bahá'í revelation. Likened to John the Baptist some two thousand years before, the Báb called on people to purify themselves for the coming of the messenger of God. This is asserted to be Bahá'u'lláh, who was initially a follower of Báb and through whom the Bahá'í faith was founded.
Although there are many stories of the Báb's childhood and his many good qualities, very little is known of his birth.
He was born on 20th October 1819 in Shiraz, Persia (now Iran) as Siyyid 'Ali-Muhammad. He was the son of a mercer of Shiraz, Siyyid Muhammad-Ridá, and his wife Fátimih-Bagum who were both descedants of the Prophet Muhammad. The Báb's father died when he was very young (when, exactly, is debated) and he was put into the care of his uncle, Hájí Mírazá 'Alí.
Shrine of the Bab in Haifa, Israel
There is no established tradition in which his birth is celebrated except that this is one of the nine Holy Days on which work is to be suspended. The day is a simple and joyous event that will begin with prayers and devotional readings and develop into some kind of festive social gathering either at home or in a place of worship. The festival is celebrated, in the spirit of the Bahá'í, to be open to all.