|Garden of Ridván, Baghdad|
The Festival of Ridvan – those festive, joyous holidays the worldwide Baha’i community celebrates between April 21st and May 2nd every year — provides the occasion for the holiest and happiest days of the Baha’i year.
The Ridvan Festival commemorates the anniversary of the garden sojourn where Baha’u’llah declared his mission outside Baghdad during the twelve days before his banishment to Istanbul (then called Constantinople) in 1863. Baha’u’llah had been exiled to Baghdad ten years earlier in 1853 by a Persian government that feared the rapid spread of his teachings and their progressive impact on society; and now, because his teachings continued to spread and threaten the clerics, Baha’u’llah was being sent into further exile as a result of pressure from that same government.
We desire but the good of the world and the happiness of the nations; yet they deem Us a stirrer up of strife and sedition worthy of bondage and banishment…. That all nations should become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men should be strengthened; that diversity of religion should cease, and differences of race be annulled — what harm is there in this? –
The Proclamation of Baha’u'llah,