Ridvan: the “King of Festivals”
First Day of the Festival of Ridvan – Tuesday, April 20 – rebroadcast of the recording of the 2020 holy day program, which can be viewed at your convenience. When feasible, local commemorations should be held at 3:00 p.m. local time. (If Daylight Saving Time is in effect, the commemoration should be held at 4:00 p.m.)
Ninth Day of the Festival of Ridvan – Wednesday, April 28, 12:30 p.m. – premiere of a pre-recorded program of prayers read at the Baha’i House of Worship will air on YouTube and Facebook at 12:30 p.m. Central time.
RIDVAN (pronounced Rezvan) means “Paradise” in Arabic. The 12-day 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. He called for this time to be remembered as the “King of Festivals.” Three of the 12 festival days are specially observed:
- The first day celebrates Baha’u’llah’s arrival in the Garden.
- The ninth day marks the arrival of His family members.
- The twelfth day commemorates His caravan’s departure to Constantinople (present-day Istanbul).
APRIL 1863. Men and women, young and old, from all walks of life, gathered on the thoroughfare leading to the banks of the River Tigris to bid a tearful farewell to One Who had become their friend, their comforter and their guide.
As a prominent follower of the Bab, whose teachings had swept through Persia two decades before, Baha’u’llah had forfeited the privileged life into which He had been born, and instead embraced imprisonment and exile for the rest of His days. Already exiled from Iran, Mirza Husayn-‘Ali—known as 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, a tent was set up in the Garden of Ridvan outside the city on the Tigris River, where for 12 days He received friends and family.
Their despair would soon be transformed into hope: On the first day, Baha’u’llah announced to His companions what many of them had already suspected—that He was the great Divine Educator heralded by the Bab, the initiator of a new era in history in which the tyrannies and injustices of the past would give way to a world of peace and justice: an embodiment of the principle of the oneness of humankind.
The “Divine Springtime,” He would unequivocally proclaim, had arrived.
THIS IS THE DAY
This is the Day in which God’s most excellent favors have been poured out upon men,
the Day in which His most mighty grace hath been infused into all created things.
It is incumbent upon all the peoples of the world to reconcile their differences,
and, with perfect unity and peace,
abide beneath the shadow of the Tree of His care and loving-kindness.