Members of five different Baha’i communities in Central Arkansas came together for a camping trip at Lake Sylvia in the Ouachita National Forest over the weekend of April 27-28, commemorating the Ninth Day of Ridvan holy day. The Festival of Ridvan was designated by Baha’u’llah as the “King of Festivals,” marking not only the twelve days when Baha’u’llah began His sojourn from Baghdad to Constantinople but also the time during which He announced His station as a Messenger of God.
Despite the constant threat of rain community members enjoyed a hike at the historic Camp Ouachita, a Girl Scouts camp built between 1936 and 1940 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Saturday was capped off with a cookout and everyone’s camping favorite: s’mores.
On Sunday, the campers and guests observed the Ninth Day of Ridvan with a small program that highlighted the significance of the holy day. The Festival of Ridvan is named after the Garden of Ridvan, an island-garden in the Tigris River in Baghdad on which Baha’u’llah was encamped for twelve days prior to His departure for Constantinople. Baha’is observe the first, ninth and twelfth days of the festival as they signify the day of Baha’u’llah’s arrival on the island, the day his family joined Him, and the day of His departure.