Festival of Ridvan
The Festival of Ridván (meaning Paradise), April 20–May 1, marks the anniversary of the start of the Bahá’í Faith in 1863. In a garden outside of Baghdad in present-day Iraq, Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, announced that he was a Messenger of God.
Bahá’u’lláh was preparing to leave for what is now Istanbul. He spent twelve days with friends in a garden on the banks of the Tigris River. Every day, gardeners picked roses and piled them so high that people couldn’t see over them as they drank tea in Bahá’u’lláh’s tent. He sent the roses as gifts to friends throughout the city and met with those of many faiths who came to say good-bye.
Ridván gatherings often include prayers, music, creative activities and shared meals. Here are some examples of ways in which Bahá’í families celebrate this festival. Please note that Bahá’ís never represent any Messenger of God in drawings or other presentations. Activities based on events in the life of Bahá’u’lláh may present other aspects of the occasion and its setting, but not the person of Bahá’u’lláh himself.
The first, ninth and twelfth days of the Festival of Ridván are Holy Days on which Bahá’ís do not attend work or school.