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April 24, 2011

The Bahá’í Community of Ottawa celebrates the Festival of Ridván

Ottawa Bahá'ís gathered on April 21 to celebrate the beginning of the Bahá'í Festival of Ridván, one of nine holy days in the Bahá'í calendar. The Festival lasts for a period of 12 days, commemorating the public declaration by Bahá’u’lláh in 1863 that he is a Messenger of God.

The Ottawa festival began Wednesday night with the annual election of nine community members to serve on the Local Spiritual Assembly, the governing body for Ottawa’s Bahá’í community.

The following afternoon, committees appointed by the Assembly made presentations detailing their efforts and achievements over the past year. The results of the previous evening’s elections were also announced to the community.

Following the presentations, hundreds of local Bahá'ís and their guests enjoyed a memorable program that included devotions and prayers from the Bahá'í sacred writings followed by artistic and musical presentations on the significance of the Festival of Ridván. Children were enthralled with a dramatic retelling of the Story of Ridván. Following the story, they lay silk roses around the stage representing the roses that the early believers placed in and around Bahá’u’lláh’s tent in the Ridván Garden, in Baghdad, Iraq. It was in this garden, on an island in the Tigris River, that Bahá’u’lláh revealed to his family and friends that he was the Messenger of God appointed for this day.

Before the twelve-day festival concludes on May 2nd, two other important historical events connected to Ridván will be commemorated in neighbourhood-based celebrations around the city.

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© The Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Ottawa, Canada 2011