Celebrate Festival of Ridvan Online

April 15, 2020
Celebrate Festival of Ridvan Online

In years past, as part of its annual celebration of Ridvan, the “Most Great Festival,“ the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois, hosted special devotional gatherings and musical programs for these Holy Days.  The 12-day Festival of Ridvan is among the most significant observances in the Baha’i calendar.

Van Gilmer lead a virtual choir in singing “O Thou Compassionate Lord” in the 12th Day broadcast.

This year, due to social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the House of Worship is offering a new way of celebrating with what may be an even wider audience. The staff is working with volunteers who are videotaping themselves singing or saying selected prayers. These video clips will be edited together and shared online on these festive days.

Broadcasts will be released at the following times and can be viewed later:

First Day of Ridvan: Monday, April 20, 4:00 pm CDT
Youtube or Facebook Live

Ninth Day of Ridvan: Tuesday, April 28, 12:30 pm CDT
YouTube or Facebook Live

Twelfth Day of Ridvan: Friday, May 1, 12:30 pm CDT
YouTube or Facebook Live

Anne Perry tells the moving story of Ridvan during the 12th Day broadcast.

Ridvan (pronounced Rezvan) means “Paradise” in Arabic.

The Festival of Ridvan commemorates the announcement by Baha’u’llah in 1863 that He is the Promised One of all religions and the Manifestation of God for this era. Baha’u’llah’s teachings, particularly the concept of the oneness of humanity, are the basis of the Baha’i Faith.

Already exiled from Iran, Baha’u’llah had been living in Baghdad when word came that He was to be again banished by the leaders of the Ottoman Empire. Prior to this further exile, He set up a tent in the Garden of Ridvan outside the city on the Tigris River, where for 12 days He received friends and family.

Three of these 12 days are specially observed:

The first day celebrates Baha’u’llah’s arrival in the Garden accompanied by a few of His friends and family.

The ninth day marks the arrival of more of His family members.

The twelfth day commemorates His caravan’s departure to Constantinople (present-day Istanbul).


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