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Cultural Approaches to Pediatric Palliative Care in Central Massachusetts: Bahá’í

This subject guide is a collaborative project with the Children's Medical Center Pediatric Palliative Care Team, the Lamar Soutter Library, and Interpreter Services.




  • The oneness of God, the oneness of religion, and the oneness of humanity
  • All great religions are divine in origin and represent successive stages of revelation throughout human history
  • Unification of humanity and end of racial and religious prejudice
  • Search for truth is an individual responsibility
  • Harmony of religion and science
  • Basic education for all children
  • Abolition of extreme wealth and poverty
  • Equality of the sexes

Daily practices

  • Daily prayer and reading of Bahá’í sacred writings
  • All worked performed in the spirit of service is considered to be worship

Dying and death

  • An individual’s reality is spiritual, not physical
  • The body is seen as the throne of the soul, worthy to be treated with honor and respect even when dead
  • After death, the soul continues to progress to the next stage of existence closer to God
  • Body should be buried, not cremated, preferably without embalming unless required by law
  • Body must not be transported more than one hour’s journey from the place of death
  • For persons over 15 years old, the Prayer for the Dead is recited at burial

Facilitating practices

  •  Provide privacy and supportive environment



  •  Bahá’í Fast March 2-20; Bahá’í over the age of 15 who are in good health abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset each day


  •  Consumption of alcohol or mind-altering drugs is forbidden except when prescribed by a physician

Holy days and festivals

  • 7 Holy Day festivals per year in which one does not work or go to school
  • Other Holy Days also observed

Pregnancy and birth

  •  No special requirements


Rituals or ceremonies

  •  Synagogue/Temple attendance
  •  Lighting candles before Sabbath and Holidays
  •  Be aware of cultural differences in observance and practice, especially in the large and growing number of Spanish speaking communities.

Spiritual instruments, social structure, and symbols

  • Bahá’í prayers for private worship
  • Local, national and international representatives
  • Authorized representatives perform special rituals
  • 9 pointed star

Reproduced by permission from George Handzo, BCC at 

Dictionary of Patients' Spiritual & Cultural Values for Health Care Professionals was developed by the Pastoral Care Leadership and Practice Group of HealthCare Chaplaincy, New York, NY. (Revision and update of earlier work by the Rev. Susan Wintz, BCC and the Rev. Earl Cooper, BCC)