Ridvan

Ridvan is a twelve day festival celebrated from sunset 21 April to sunset 2 May. It marks Bahá'u'lláh's time in the garden of Ridván in 1863, after the Ottoman Empire exiled him from the city and before commencing his journey to Constantinople.
     The first (April 21), ninth (April 29), and twelfth (May 2) days of Ridvan are considered major holidays as per the dictates of Baha'u'llah.  These days correspond to Baha'u'llah's move to Najibiyyih Garden, which Baha'u'llah called Ridvan, or Paradise, the day his family joined him at the Garden, and the day they all left the Garden to start journeying to Istanbul.

Legend

          In 1844, the Báb had arisen to proclaim the coming of a great "Messenger from God", the promised one of all religions. During his six-year ministry, which culminated in his public execution on July 9, 1850, the Báb called the people of Persia to purify themselves in preparation for the arrival of "He whom God shall make manifest." Bahá'u'lláh, one of the Báb's foremost followers, was imprisoned in 1853 on false charges. While in prison, he experienced a revelation from God in which he learned that he was to be that promised one. But upon his release from prison a few months later, he told no one of this experience. Indeed, for ten years, the entire duration of his exile in Baghdád, he kept silent on this matter. Even so, his character, wisdom, and deep spiritual insight affected all who came into contact with him.

         In 1863, Baha'u'llah was asked to move from Baghdad to Istanbul for political reasons. As the family packed up their belongings, Baha'u'llah relocated himself to nearby Najibiyyih Garden. This allowed him to meet with the many guests coming to say goodbye without interfering with the hasty packing.
         He spent 12 days there in preparation for the long journey ahead. Guests flowed into the garden, rich and poor, powerful and lowly, all paying respects to the great personage whose influence had touched them all. Sometime during the midst of all this activity, Bahá'u'lláh declared to the gathered Bábís that he was the promised one spoken of by the Báb.

Celebrations
  • Since Abdu'l-Bahá's time, Bahá'í elections have normally been held during Ridván. Local spiritual assemblies are elected on the first day of Ridván, while elections for national spiritual assemblies happen later in the festival.
  • Community gatherings for prayers festivity on the first, ninth and twelfth days. 
  • These are days on which no work is done.
  • Gardens are a requirement for Bahá’í Houses of Worship. They all have four basic requirements: they are circular shape, have nine sides, a dome, and are surrounded by nine gardens with walkways.