The Bahá Festival of Ridvan is a 12-day celebration that begins on either April 20 or April 21, depending on the March equinox, and will be observed from holiday_start_date id=”83947″] to May 3 this year. ‘Ridvàn’ means ‘paradise’ in Arabic, and the 12 days of the festival commemorate the 12 days Bahá’u’lláh spent in the garden of Ridvàn in Baghdad, the current capital of Iraq, in 1863. This is where he introduced himself to his adherents as “The Promised One.” On the first, ninth, and final days of the Ridvan festival, which are holy, no labour is performed.
The background of Festival of Ridvan
In 1844, Sayyed Al Muammad Shráz proclaimed himself The Bab, which means ‘gate’ in Arabic. He is regarded as one of the most influential figures in the Bahá religion. The disciples of the Bab were known as Bábs. In one of Bab’s writings, he predicted the advent of a messiah, whose arrival had been foretold in various scriptures. The Bab saw himself as the one who would prepare the people’s minds and the path. He referred to this concept as “He whom God will manifest.” His teachings and the Babi movement ultimately resulted in his 1850 execution by the Persian rulers.
Bahá’u’lláh, one of the Bab’s adherents, was imprisoned in Siyah-Chal in Tehran, Iran, in 1853. He is said to have received the guaranteed revelation while incarcerated. After his release, he was exiled from Persia, and he resided in Baghdad as a result. Since the execution of the Bab, Baghdad became the centre of Babi activity, and the Bábs had already begun to regard Baháu’lláh as their leader and frequently sought his counsel.
Bahá’u’lláh was dispatched to Constantinople after the Persian government and Islamic clerics, perceiving the revival of the Babis movement as a growing threat, convinced Bahá’u’lláh to travel there. Before departing for Constantinople, Bahá’u’lláh relocated to the Garden of Ridvan so that he could receive the numerous visitors coming to pay him homage and assist his family in preparing for the journey. On April 22, 1863, he entered the garden and spent twelve days there. In the garden, he declared his mission as the promised one of whom the Bab had spoken. What was intended to be a sorrowful farewell for the Babis became a celebration of a new religion.
5 IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT THE RIDVAN FESTIVAL
The first day of the festival commemorates the day Baha’u’llah entered the garden of Ridvan and proclaimed himself to be the Messiah.
His family joined him in the garden of Ridvan on the ninth day.
Bahá’u’lláh left for Constantinople, where he was exiled, on the final day of his journey.
Baha’u’llah’s communications from the garden are read to Bahá’ believers during the Festival of Ridvan.
A convention is convened every five years at the Baha’i world centre in Haifa, Israel, to elect the members of the Universal House of Justice of the Baha’i faith.
FESTIVAL OF RIDVAN DATES