Last modified at 7:33 p.m. on Friday, April 20, 2001
Baha'is prepare for Ridvan celebration
For the world's 5 million Baha'is, the start of the 12-day Ridvan celebration today marks their most important religious observance of the year.
Ridvan celebrates the announcement in 1863 of Baha'u'llah, the prophet-founder of the Baha'i faith, that he was the Promised One of all earlier religions.
Baha'u'llah announced that world peace is possible and that human society can be transformed to be nurturing and supportive of every person.
The commemoration of the First Day of Ridvan will be held at 4 p.m. today at the Topeka Friends Meetinghouse at 603 S.W. 8th, followed by a social period and light supper at 6 p.m. The regular monthly Baha'i worship service will begin at 7 p.m.
Ridvan celebrates the central tenet that the Baha'i faith is the fulfillment of past religious expectations.
"The Baha'i faith does not really claim it is a new religion, but a renewal of the religion of God that has been in process," said Duane Herrmann, of the Baha'i community of Shawnee County. "The Baha'i faith is the newest step in the process."
The first, ninth and 12th days of Ridvan are considered holy. Members of the Baha'i faith locally will participate in a work project for Sheltered Living on April 28, the ninth day of Ridvan, and will gather for a special Holy Day activity on May 2.
The Baha'i faith is considered among the newest of major world religions and is believed to be surpassed only by Christianity in geographic diversity. It emphasizes the unity of all world religions and the equality of men and women. It also promotes racial equality.
This year's Ridvan observance marks the launching of a five-year plan of development and expansion for the Baha'i community.
Each country's national Baha'i council determines how the plan will take final shape.
In Kansas, a renewed effort will be made to strengthen the Baha'i communities in the western part of the state. The education of children and a new system of adult education are also components of this plan.
Herrmann added that most Baha'is in the United States have come to the religion from other faith groups, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism.
"You're not turning your back on your previous religion," Herrmann said. "You're expanding your understanding."
Phil Anderson can be reached at (785) 295-1195 or email@example.com.
©Copyright 2001, The Topeka Capital-Journal