Baha’is and their friends are celebrating the Festival of Ridvan from home this year, discovering new ways to mark the 12-Day Festival. Ridvan marks the public declaration of the mission of Baha’u’llah in a garden outside of Baghdad in 1863. This year, it began on April 20 and ends on May 1.
One of the stories recorded from that time is that gardeners would pick roses which lined the avenues of the garden, and pile them at the centre of the floor of Baha’u’llah’s tent.
To commemorate the Festival, many children have been creating their own “Ridvan tents” at home. While there is no established custom around this practice, it has emerged as an expression of celebrating a special time of year within the confines of the home.
The first, ninth, and twelfth days of Ridvan are celebrated as Baha’i holy days, on which work is suspended.
This year, the National Spiritual Assembly wrote to Baha’is across Canada asking them to devote time each day of Ridvan to praying for humanity.
This invitation to prayer was made as the National Assembly shared an annual letter from the Universal House of Justice written on the occasion of Ridvan. That letter reflected on the conditions created by the coronavirus, and said: “However long and arduous the road that must be traveled, we are supremely confident in your fortitude and your determination to see the journey through. You draw from stores of hope, faith, and magnanimity, putting the needs of others before your own.”
Ridvan is also a time of year when Baha’is elect their local and national governing institutions in a secret ballot, free of nominations and campaigning. Local and national elections were carried out remotely this year using mail-in ballots.