Festival of Ridvan celebrated around the world

BAHA’I WORLD CENTRE — For 12 days at the end of April and beginning of May, Baha’i communities around the world celebrated their most holy festival: Ridvan.

This annual festival marks the anniversary of the days Baha’u’llah spent along the River Tigris in Baghdad.

In 1863, Baha’u’llah stayed in a garden on the banks of the Tigris River for 12 days, during which His many admirers in the city came to bid Him farewell. Baha’u’llah announced to the friends gathered with Him during those days that He was God’s Messenger for a new age, foretold in the world’s scriptures. He called the garden they were gathered in “Ridvan,” meaning “paradise.”

The Ridvan period was also a time when Baha’u’llah proclaimed the foundational spiritual principles that lie at the heart of His teachings—signaling the arrival of a new stage in the evolution of the life of humanity, characterized by peace and an end to violence.

Today, the festival of Ridvan is the most joyous of Baha’i holy days. In villages, towns, and cities around the world, Baha’i communities celebrate these special days with gatherings open to all.

In thousands of localities around the globe on the first day of Ridvan, Baha’is also vote for their local governing councils. And throughout the 12-day festival of Ridvan, national conventions are held in some 180 countries and territories, during which delegates gather to vote for their National Spiritual Assembly, a nine-member council responsible for guiding, coordinating, and stimulating the activities of the Baha’is in its jurisdiction. Baha’i elections are distinct for their lack of nomination and campaigning. This year, national elections took place over two weekends: 22-23 April and 29-30 April.

Every year on the first day of Ridvan, the Universal House of Justice addresses a message to the Baha’is of the World. This year’s message calls attention to the reality that “humanity’s ultimate well-being is dependent upon its differences being transcended and its unity firmly established.”

“Every contribution Baha’is make to the life of their society,” it states, “is aimed at fostering unity; every community-building endeavour is directed towards the same end.”

Republished from the Bahá’í World News Service.

Bahá’ís Celebrating the Most Holy Days of the Year

At sunset, April 19, Bahá’ís in Arlington and around the world begin the 12-day celebration of Ridván, the holiest days of the year for Bahá’ís, commemorating the public declaration in 1863 of the Mission of Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. Bahá’ís globally will gather to worship and to elect their Spiritual Assemblies, the local governing bodies in the community.

This year, 2017, also marks the Bicentennial of Bahá’u’lláh’s Birth, to be celebrated in October.

He said: “The Divine Springtime is come, O Most Exalted Pen, for the Festival of the All-Merciful is fast approaching. Bestir thyself, and magnify, before the entire creation, the name of God, and celebrate His praise, in such wise that all created things may be regenerated and made new. Speak, and hold not thy peace. The day star of blissfulness shineth above the horizon of Our name, the Blissful, inasmuch as the kingdom of the name of God hath been adorned with the ornament of the name of thy Lord, the Creator of the heavens. Arise before the nations of the earth, and arm thyself with the power of this Most Great Name, and be not of those who tarry.”

Bahá’ís Celebrate Naw-Rúz, the New Year

The Bahá’í New Year festival known as Naw-Rúz (literally “New Day”) is held on the spring equinox, March 20, 2017, but the celebrations will begin the evening before, on March 19, because the Bahá’í day begins at sunset.

The Bahá’í community in Arlington, Virginia, will observe the Holy Day at a gathering at Bon Air Park for prayers, songs, sharing and food – the morning of Monday, March 20.

The festival comes at the end of a 19-day fast in which adult Bahá’ís have abstained from food and drink between sunrise and sunset as a reminder of the need for individuals to be detached from their material desires.

Naw-Rúz is the first day of the first of 19 months in the Bahá’í calendar, which was initiated by the Báb, the Forerunner of the Faith’s Prophet-Founder, Bahá’u’lláh, who later confirmed it.

To learn more about Naw-Rúz, click here. To contact the Baha’i community in Arlington, click above.

Women for Spiritual Justice respond to societal disintegration

How are you responding to the “distrust that pits neighbor against neighbor and severs family ties” or “the antagonism of so much of what passes for social discourse” in these days?

If you are a small group of women in northern Virginia, you have been gathering together to pray, to share your minds and hearts, to reflect, to study together, and to commit to lives of action based on spiritual justice for all human beings.

Calling the gathering, Women for Spiritual Justice, they met three times in February 2017, and will continue to meet, to offer one another support, and to offer their lives to help transform their social, familial, professional, and political environments. To assist in creating a common understanding and help focus their spiritual intention, they are studying a paper by the Bahá’í-inspired Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity,  called “Advancing Toward the Equality of Women and Men.”

Maybe you and your friends would benefit from such an initiative! Maybe you would like to join this one. Feel free to contact us.