This year, Bahá’ís in all corners of the world celebrate a special anniversary: 150 years since Bahá’u’lláh, the Manifestation of God for this age, openly declared His mission to humankind. Round numbers inevitably give pause for reflection, and there’s been quite a lot of it recently. Lots of blogs and news sites have posted some potent reflections about Ridván, including Bahá’í Blog (written by Ottawa/Dalian’s own James Howden), Bahá’í Perspectives (returning after a long hiatus), the Canadian Bahá’í News Service, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Huffington Post, have all posted meaty articles about Ridván this year. Moreover, this year is that one year out of every five during which the Bahá’í International Convention takes place, a grand international gathering whose purpose is to elect the Universal House of Justice, the Institution at the head of the Bahá’í Faith. The convention starts on April 29, and delegates from around the world, from Virginia to Vietnam and from Finland to Fiji, have already gathered in the Holy Land to pray at the Bahá’í Shrines in Haifa and ‘Akká to prepare themselves for this most sacred duty.
The exhilaration one feels at living in this day, the day in which the newly reborn Faith of God is coalescing, raising up its Institutions and putting in place the structures that humanity needs to advance into the long-awaited stage of maturity, is incredible. So hard is it to describe that I don’t have too much to write about it yet. For the time being, I did want to address one very good question that’s come up recently that a few friends have had trouble putting to rest, one that has to do with the Bahá’í calendar.
From the Canadian Baha’i News Service (CBNS), about the Canadian National Convention:
Iranian situation of deep concern to Bahá’ís at Canadian convention
TORONTO, ON, 27 April 2006 (CBNS) — Bahá’í delegates from across Canada will gather on Friday morning in Toronto for the 57th annual Bahá’í National Convention. The convention runs until Sunday, April 30th. Elected by their fellow believers across Canada, now numbering more than 30,000, the delegates will begin the convention with prayers for the safety of Iran’s Bahá’í community, that country’s largest religious minority.
Read the entire article.
So the twelve-day festival of Ridván, “…the holiest and most significant of all Bahá’í festivals”, continues. Check out some pictures from Ottawa’s celebration of the 1st day of Ridván. Spiritual Assemblies – building blocks of Bahá’í administration – were elected across the country on that day, in a rarefied atmosphere of spirituality that provides a refreshing contrast to the crassness and ego-mongering that too often characterizes our familiar democratic process. The Bahá’í National Convention happens this weekend in Toronto; there, representatives nationwide will gather to elect the nine members of the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada. Offer your prayers for smooth and productive deliberations at the convention, so that we may enter the new Five-Year Plan running and more united and resolute than ever.
As usual, if anything in this post doesn’t make sense to you—drop me a line!
photo by deb5376 (creative commons)
Best wishes on this first day of Ridván, the King of all Festivals.
From John Walbridge’s Two Articles on Ridván:
Ridvan, Festival of. The twelve day period commemorating Baha’u’llah’s announcement of his claim to prophethood and his departure from Baghdad in 1863, observed from sunset 20 April to sunset, 2 May. The first, ninth and twelfth days of Ridvan are major Baha’i holy days on which work should be suspended. Baha’i elections are normally held during Ridvan. The name derives from the Najibiyyih Garden in Baghdad where Baha’u’llah stayed during this period and to which he gave the name Ridvan (Paradise).
See also the BBC’s fact file on Ridván.
View a Ridván-themed Flash presentation hosted by the Bahá’ís of New York City.