|The centerpiece of Bahá'í community
life is the Nineteen Day Feast. Held once every 19 days, it is the local community's
regular worship gathering--and more.
both adults and children, the Nineteen Day Feast is the regular gathering that promotes
and sustains the unity of the local Bahá'í community. Although its program is adaptable
to a wide variety of cultural and social needs, the Feast always contains three elements:
spiritual devotion, administrative consultation, and fellowship. As such, the Feast
combines religious worship with grassroots governance and social enjoyment.
The use of the word "feast" might seem to imply
that a large meal will be served. That is not necessarily the case. While food and
beverages are usually served, the term itself is meant to suggest that the community
should enjoy a "spiritual feast" of worship, companionship and unity.
Bahá'u'lláh stressed the importance of gathering every nineteen days, "to bind your
hearts together," even if nothing more than water is served.
During the devotional program, selections from the Bahá'í
writings, and often the scriptures from other religions, are read aloud. A general
discussion follows, allowing every member a voice in community affairs and making the
Feast an "arena of democracy at the very root of society." The Feast ends with a
period for socializing.