Ninth Day of Riḍván 2020 began at Sunset of Monday, 27 April and ends at Sunset of Tuesday, 28 April.
Today Baháʼís all over the world are celebrating the 9th Day of Riḍván, a festival of joy and unity.
The twelve-day period between April 20th and May 1st marks the holiest and happiest Baháʼí period of the year, called Riḍván.
These twelve Baha’i Holy Days, which celebrate the beginning of the Baháʼí Faith in 1863, also recognize a period of great turmoil in the Baháʼí history and signify the transformation of suffering and oppression into joy.
Three of the twelve days of Riḍván have special significance–the first, ninth and final day, which fall respectively on April 20th, April 28th and May 1st, 2020.
Baháʼís celebrate those days by abstaining from work and participating in joyous gatherings among the family members only at present time. The reason is this: We are all aware of the fact that the global outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), and the consequent LOCKDOWN across the globe and in order to maintain strictly of social distancing to break the chain of spreading the virus, such gatherings of any kind - large and small are not allowed during this critical time.
These happy occasions, usually characterized by prayer and readings from the Baháʼí Holy Writings, remind Baha’is that devotion to a noble Cause dedicated to the service of humanity can bring great and lasting happiness.
The Ninth Day of Ridvan commemorates a profoundly symbolic event in Baháʼí history. Baháʼu'lláh', who had been previously exiled to Baghdad by the Shah of a hostile Persian government in 1852, had once again been officially banished from Baghdad to Constantinople (now known as Istanbul, Turkey), the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Both governments had opposed and feared the rapid spread of Baháʼu'lláh's teachings and those of His predecessor 'the Báb,' and the Persian authorities had reacted by unleashing a violent genocidal persecution campaign of imprisonment, torture and execution against the followers of this new Faith.
On April 29, 1863, the ninth day of Ridvan, the flooding Tigris receded enough so that Baháʼu'lláh's family could cross the river and join Him on the island. This symbol – the reunification and strength of the bond of family, and by extension the unity of the entire human family – permeates the meaning of the ninth day of Ridvan.
The progressive Baháʼí teachings – world unity, the oneness of all religions, the equality of men and women etc.
At the time, both the Persian and the Ottoman governments opposed and feared the rapid spread of Baháʼu'lláh'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 Baháʼí 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.
With this concerted campaign of exile and extermination at its peak, Baháʼu'lláh prepared to leave Baghdad. He and a small number of followers moved temporarily to a verdant garden on eastern bank of the Tigris River. This fertile wooded garden, built by Najib Pasha, one of the previous Governors of Baghdad, had four avenues, each lined with rose bushes, which attracted the nightingales that sang loudly there every night. In the spring the Tigris would flow past powerfully, and observers said the rushing river, the heady fragrance of the thousands of roses and the melodic songbirds “created an atmosphere of beauty and enchantment.”
Like all holy days, Baháʼís must abstain from work and school on this holiday. They also celebrate with joyous family gatherings, filled with prayer and readings from the Baháʼí Writings.
( Compiled by Jaya Raju Thota)