April 29, 2019 – The Ninth Day of Ridván
Beginning the evening of April 28 until the end of April 29, Baha’is round the world will celebrate the Ninth Day of Riḍván, a festival of joy and unity. Riḍván (Rez-wahn) is a is a twelve-day festival that commemorates the beginning of the Bahá'í Faith in 1863. Three of the twelve days of Ridván have special significance–the first, ninth, and twelfth day, which fall respectively on April 21, April 29, and May 2.
The Ninth Day of Ridván honors a historic event in the Baha’i faith. In April of 1863, Baha’u’llah, founder of the Baha’i faith, learned that he had been officially banished from the Ottoman Empire. At the time, both the Persian and the Ottoman governments opposed and feared the rapid spread of Baha’u’llah’s teachings, so they reacted with violence against his followers. At least 20,000 innocent people died as a result. However, the Ottoman government was unable to slow the spread of the Baha’i faith and so they banished the founder and his followers. They ended up near the eastern bank of the Tigris River in the Garden of Ridván. On their Ninth day in the garden, the flooding Tigris receded enough so that Baha’u’llah’s family could cross the river and join him. This reunification of Baha’u’llah’s family inspired the symbolic meaning of the Ninth Day of Ridván.
Like all holy days, Baha’is must abstain from work and school on this holiday. They also celebrate with joyous gatherings filled with prayer and readings from the Baha’i writings.
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