Baha’i-Gregorian Calendar Wheel

Baha'i-Gregorian Calendar Wheel

One of the challenges of being a Baha’i is living by two calendars.

Like the founders of most great religions, the Bab and Baha’u’llah established a new calendar. The Baha’i year begins on the first day of spring (logically) and consists of 19 months of 19 days each, with an “intercalary period” or four or five days (depending on leap year) to realign the Baha’i year with the solar year.

Of course, we still have to live and function in Western society, which operates on the Gregorian calendar, starting on a more-or-less random day in the middle of winter, and consisting of 12 months of between 28 and 31 days.

A few years ago I resolved to create a single, circular calendar that shows both. The calendar has a pointer at the top and turns on its axle so that you can just give the wheel a little nudge everyday to bring the current day to the pointer at the top. You’re welcome to use this graphic to create your own. Here’s how I did mine:

I created the file in Adobe Illustrator by first creating a 365-point star, and then drawing concentric circles and lines to denote the two sets of months. On the Baha’i layer, I noted all 19 months as well as all Baha’i Holy Days and seasons such as Ridvan and the Fast.

Then I converted to a jpeg, took the file to Kinko’s, and had them print it on an 11 x 17″ transparency. (Even though the jpeg fills the background with white, if you’re printing on a transparency, the white will read as clear, so you don’t need a vector file.) Using a dinner plate as a template and an exacto knife, I cut the excess transparency away from the calendar design.

Then I went to a crafts store and bought a blank, wooden clock face that had a pre-drilled hole in the middle. I stained the wood, then brushed on a coat of polyurethane. While the poly was still wet, I laid the transparency on the wheel and rubbed out the bubbles the best I could.

Lastly, I custom built the pointer assembly by cutting segments of wood about the dimensions of a yard stick. I connected the wheel to the pointer assembly using a domed hex bolt tightened loosely to allow the wheel to spin. A hole at the top of the back strip allows the wheel to be hung on a wall, and a spacer between the back strip and the pointer in the front — slightly deeper than the depth of the  wheel — prevents the pointer from binding against the wheel (see center photo below).

I made about three prototypes (one shown below). If I had the patience to spend weeks experimenting with finishes and adhesives, I probably could have gotten a lot more professional do on it, but I was happy to have realized my little dream.  Feel free to use the graphic in other ways and you’ll probably get superior results. If you do, take a picture and post it below. Alla’u’abha!

 

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3 comments on “Baha’i-Gregorian Calendar Wheel

  1. Kenny Lane says:

    Wow! That is awsome! Have you given a talk on that?

  2. Al says:

    Cool! Thanks!

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