Baha’is around the world are joyously celebrating the Ridvan Festival, just a month after celebrating the Baha’i New Year at the vernal equinox. Ridvan, which translates to mean “Paradise,” commemorates the proclamation of Baha’u’llah, the prophet-founder of the Baha’i faith, and marks the 12 days he spent in the Ridvan Garden in Persia in 1863.
The Ridvan Festival is celebrated from April 21 to May 2, with special commemorations held on the first, ninth and twelfth days of Ridvan. Baha’u’llah, whose name means “The Glory of God,” announced his mission publicly on the first day of Ridvan.
In 1863, Baha’u’llah claimed that he is the promised one of all religions – the long-awaited peace-bringer whose revelation, as foretold in earlier scriptures, will bring into being a unified worldwide divine civilization.
Baha’u’llah writes: “The Revelation which, from time immemorial, hath been acclaimed as the Purpose and Promise of all the Prophets of God, and the most cherished Desire of His Messengers, hath now, by virtue of the pervasive Will of the Almighty and at His irresistible bidding, been revealed. The advent of such a Revelation hath been heralded in all the sacred Scriptures.”
We are living in a time the Baha’is call “The Day of God,” a divine spiritual springtime that will lead to the flourishing of humanity. Baha’u’llah, the most recent of God’s great prophets, penned his revelation with his own hand and these sacred writings have been carefully preserved.
Baha’u’llah tells us: “This is the Day in which God’s most excellent favors have been poured out, 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. It behooveth them to cleave to whatsoever will, in this Day, be conducive to the exaltation of their stations, and to the promotion of their best interests.”
Baha’is believe in each age, God sends a messenger to humanity, honoring an eternal promise that we would never be left without guidance. While Baha’is are followers of the teachings of Baha’u’llah, they also embrace and revere Buddha, Krishna, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. Each prophet has a distinct individuality and a particular mission, yet they come from one Source and share a divinely ordained purpose.
Baha’u’llah’s mission is to spiritually re-awaken and unite the peoples of the world; to rehabilitate the fortunes of humanity and regenerate the whole world. Baha’u’llah proclaims, “Great indeed is this Day! The allusions made to it in all the sacred Scriptures as the Day of God attest its greatness. The soul of every Prophet of God, of every Divine Messenger, hath thirsted for this wondrous Day.”
Whenever God sends a new prophet, fresh energies and potentialities are released on the planet. Baha’u’llah has written: “Through the movement of Our Pen of glory We have, at the bidding of the omnipotent Ordainer, breathed a new life into every human frame, and instilled into every word a fresh potency. All created things proclaim the evidences of this worldwide regeneration. This is the most great, the most joyful tidings.”
He also said: “We have called into being a new creation,” and “The Divine Springtime is come, O Most Exalted Pen, for the Festival of the All-Merciful is fast approaching.”
In celebrating the Ridvan Festival – referred to in the Baha’i writings as “The Day of Supreme Felicity,” “The Most Great Festival” and “The Festival of God” – Baha’is offer thanks for this new revelation that sheds light on human affairs, at a time when many are troubled by the darkness that has settled on the world.
Baha’u’llah proclaimed: “This Day a door is open wider than both heaven and earth.” Let us open it wider to bring about a true transformation toward peace on earth.