Bahá’ís throughout the world commemorate this day as the First Day of the Festival of Riḍván, highest Holy Day in the Bahá’í Calendar, a day commemorating the Great Announcement made by Bahá’u’lláh, Prophet/Founder of the Bahá’í Faith on 21 April 1863, in the Garden known by the name of Riḍván [Paradise] in the city of Baghdád, Iraq, to the world that He was the long awaited Messenger of God for this Day foretold in the Holy Books of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Islám, and heralded by the appearance of The Báb in Shiráz, Iran, in 1844. In short, we commemorate the Announcement to the world of the Advent of the Promised One of all ages. The Festival of Riḍván lasts for a full twelve days with the First, Ninth, and Twelfth Day being the highest Holy Days of the Bahá’í Year.
“Sonnet In Honour of the First Day of Riḍván”
He calls the world to peace; the nations cry for war;
He calls the world toward the sun while the owls flee to shadows
In the night as far from one another as His Will allows.
Refractions in the gloom, they revel in the scores
Of symphonies, adagios, and choruses of universal pain,
The rites of self-annihilation, denial, and mutilation of the soul;
Their bodies, frigates of the aging war fleet grounded in the shoals.
And on this Day of all Days, He gathers refugees from the rain
To clothe the naked with the unity and simplicity of truth, roses
Of the Garden piled before His feet; the Great Announcement
Given first to those who knew His Voice, thereafter, the pronouncement
To the city of future pilgrimage, to Baghdád He discloses
His Identity; at last to all the world: The Second Trumpet’s come!
Lift up the veils, behold the Light! Leave the bats of loathing
To withdraw to their own chosen darknesses before the rising sun.