the coming of a great Messenger from God, the Promised One of all religions.
During His six-year ministry, the Báb told the people of Persia to purify themselves in preparation for the arrival of "He whom God shall make manifest."
The Báb was executed in public on the 9th July, 1850. In 1853 Bahá'u'lláh, one of the Báb's foremost followers, was imprisoned on false charges. While in prison, Bahá'u'lláh received a revelation from God, telling him that he was to be the Messenger from God. When Bahá'u'lláh was released from prison, and for ten years afterwards while he was exiled in Baghdád, He told no one of this experience. However, His character, wisdom, and deep spiritual insight had an impact on many people.
The authorities in Baghdád wanted to move Bahá'u'lláh somewhere else, because they were concerned that a new religion may spread among the travellers who came to Baghdád. Bahá'u'lláh and his associates were moved to Constantinople.
Before leaving, Bahá'u'lláh spent 12 days in the Garden of Ridván to prepare for the journey to Constantinople. "Ridván" means "Paradise". Large numbers went to the garden to pay homage to Bahá'u'lláh. During this time Bahá'u'lláh declared to the gathered Bábís that He was the Promised One spoken of by the Báb.
Many years later, Bahá'u'lláh declared the Festival of Ridván "the Most Great Festival" and specified that the first, ninth, and twelfth days should be celebrated as Holy Days.
The Bahá'í administrative year now begins on the First Day of Ridván. On that day, the election of Local and National Spiritual Assemblies as prescribed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi take place. The elections that renew the administrative order become part of the festivities.