Festival of Ridvan
The Baha'is of Alaska will observe the annual Festival of Ridvan over a 12-day period with social gatherings, devotional services and election of the local administrative body. A celebration will be at 2:30 p.m. Monday at the Anchorage Baha'i Center. For directions, call 349-1844. The event is open to the public.
In Baha'i communities where there are nine or more adults, members hold the annual election of their local administrative body on the first day of Ridvan. Alaska has 31 such communities, according to David Baumgartner, secretary of the Alaska Baha'is.
The word "Ridvan" means "paradise." From April 21 to May 2, 1863, Baha'u'llah, the prophet-founder of the Baha'i faith, resided in a garden of Baghdad which he called "The Garden of Ridvan." There, he proclaimed his mission as God's messenger for this age. At the time of his proclamation, Baha'u'llah was in exile, banished from his native Persia because of his teachings. His exile to Baghdad was the first of several banishments that occurred until his death in 1892.
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