Pasadena celebrates the Festival of Ridvan (Paradise)

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The Bahá’í community of Pasadena will get together on Saturday, May 2nd to celebrate the annual Festival of Ridván. The event is open to the general public at the Western Justice Center, 55 S. Grand Ave.

The word “Ridván” means “Paradise.” For twelve days from April 21 to May 2, 1863, Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, resided in a garden of Baghdad that he dubbed “the Garden of Ridván”. There Bahá’u’lláh publicly proclaimed his mission as God’s messenger for this age. At the time of his proclamation, Bahá’u’lláh was an exile in Baghdad, banished from his native Persia because of his teachings.

The Festival of Ridván is celebrated by Bahá’ís throughout the world with great joy and fellowship. Bahá’u’lláh wrote of the garden, “This is the Paradise, the rustling of whose leaves proclaims: ‘O ye that inhabit the heavens and the earth! There hath appeared what hath never previously appeared. He Who, from everlasting, had concealed His face from the sight of creation is now come’.”

The Bahá’í Faith teaches the oneness of God, the oneness of religion, and the oneness of mankind. Bahá’ís believe that in every age, God sends a divine educator, a manifestation of God, whose purpose is to restate and renew the eternal truths of religion and to address the specific needs of the age in which he appears. They believe that Bahá’u’lláh is the manifestation of God, whose purpose is to restate and renew the eternal truths of religion and to address the specific needs of the age in which he appears. They believe that Bahá’u’lláh is the manifestation of God for this age in mankind’s evolution. This “spiritual springtime” as it is called in the Bahá’í writings, when the efforts of all the previous messengers of God, such as Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Christ, Muhammad, and Bahá’u’lláh’s prophet-herald, the Báb, will blossom and bear their fruit. Thus, the occurrence of the Festival of Ridván at the height of the spring season bears a special significance for Bahá’ís.

In his writings, Bahá’u’lláh promulgates the equality of men and women, the essential harmony of science and religion, the independent investigation of truth, economic justice based upon spiritual principles, the urgent need for the elimination of all forms of prejudice, universal compulsory education, and international auxiliary language, and a world government for the maintenance of a lasting peace.

Bahá’u’lláh’s exile to Baghdad was the first of several banishments that occurred until his death in 1892. Dismayed by their inability to curb Bahá’u’lláh’s continuing influence and growing Faith, Persian religious and government leaders convinced the officials of the Ottoman Empire to banish Bahá’u’lláh to Adrianople, Constantinople, and finally, to the horrendous prison city of Akka in the Holy Land. Bahá’u’lláh suffered forty years of torture, imprisonment and exile.

The World Center of the Bahá’í Faith is on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel.

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