Saturday (April 21) marks the start of the 12-day Festival of Ridvan for Bahá’is across the world. It’s a time of commemmoration for the time Bahá’u’lláh spent in the Garden of Ridvan before being exiled from Baghdad to Constantinople (present-day Istanbul).
Bahá’u’lláh spent 40 years of his life in exile (he was originally sent from his native Tehran in Persia – present-day Iran – in 1853).
The Festival of Ridvan marks the anniversary of Baha’u’llah’s declaration in 1863 that He was a new messenger of God. He called Ridvan the “King of Festivals” and the “Festival of God,” among other names.
Bahá’is throughout the Thames Valley are gathering on April 21 for prayers and meditations at the start of the Festival of Ridvan. April 21 is one of the nine holy days of the year when work is suspended.