Birth of the Bab
annually on October 20th
As the name implies, Birth of the Bab celebrates the birth of the Bab, a prophet and forerunner of the Bahá'í faith. It is a Bahá'í holy day, and one of three dedicated to the Bab, along with Declaration of the Bab and Martyrdom of the Bab.
Siyyid Ali Muhammad was born in Shiraz, Persia (now Iran), on October 20, 1819, and became known as the Bab, which means "gate" in Arabic. He is believed to be from the line of the Prophet Muhammed. His father died when he was young, and he was raised by his maternal uncle, Haji Mirza Siyyid. Possessing a great depth of knowledge of the Qur'an and spirituality, he began his ministry in 1844. He traveled to Mecca, eventually was imprisoned in a mountain, and was executed by a firing squad in Tabriz in 1850.
Similar to how John the Baptist came before Jesus, the Bab came before Baha'u'llah—the founder of the Bahá'í faith—and told people to prepare themselves for his coming. The Bab became a martyr for his faith like John did for his. But unlike John the Baptist, the Bab is viewed as the manifestation of God, he was not related to the person he prophesied about, nor did he ever meet him.
How to Observe
Everyone, regardless if they are of the Bahá'í faith or not, is allowed to participate in celebrations of the Birth of the Bab. Those who are Bahá'í are not to do any work on the day. The day is filled with prayer and fellowship. Prayers include the "Tablet of Visitation." Other prayers and readings are read, some from the writings of the Bab or from the Bible and the Qur'an. Some communities have a formal dinner or potluck. There are outdoor activities, and sometimes there are cultural or arts events. You could participate in all these events today, and the Shrine of the Bab could also be visited.