The Festival of Ridvan, celebrated from April 21 to May 2 1863, commemorates the 12 days when Bahá’u’lláh resided in a garden called Ridvan (Paradise) in Baghdad.
At this time, He publicly proclaimed His mission as God’s messenger – that He was the Promised One of all earlier religions.
The first (April 21), ninth (April 29) and twelfth (May 2) are holy days when work is suspended. They mark the day of Bahá’u’lláh’s arrival in the garden, the arrival of His family and the group’s departure for Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) – where he was exiled.
Throughout Ridvan, Bahá’is gather for prayers and meditations and attend social gatherings. It is also during this time that elections take place for Bahá’i governing bodies.