For the twelve days between 20 April and 1 May, Bahá’ís everywhere were celebrating the Festival of Ridvan. Most years, communities rejoice in meeting together to commemorate the time Bahá’u’’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, spent in a garden near Baghdad with his family and followers in the spring of 1863, and to rejoice in the anniversary of his declaration as the manifestation of God for this age.
Some communities might celebrate with garden parties and picnics, others with a more solemn gathering. In 2020, however, things have been a little different. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries around the world have imposed ‘lockdown’ restrictions, forbidding people to meet in groups or hold any type of gathering. So how did the Bahá’ís and their friends celebrate Ridvan this year?
Here is how one person recalled the celebration they ‘attended’ online, using the Zoom app, for the 1st Day of Ridvan (one of three holy days during this period when work is suspended for Bahá’ís):
“It was lovely to share readings and prayers on the first day of Ridvan as we ‘met’ online.”
Another community hosted a light-hearted online party and ‘picnic’ on the 12th Day of Ridvan, and an attendee commented:
“We enjoyed seeing everyone online, participating in a quiz, listening to an uplifting song and even having our picnic together, each in our own homes.”
Here are some links to online resources that some of these communities used to help them celebrate. These have also been added to our Classroom Resources pages.
The story of Ridvan told with the help of a model garden.
A lively song about the significance of Ridvan.
A short quiz about the Ridvan Garden and its significance to Bahá’ís (PPT download here).
How are you celebrating religious and social occasions during these difficult times? Do please contact us to share your experiences.