After Sisko's death the orbs had gone dark causing a major crisis on Bajor. Three years after Sisko's death it was noticed that the orbs' light returned on the anniversary of his death. A further two years past and the Bajoran Religious Order was sure of the pattern and in the following year held the first Festival of Tears.
The Festival turned a grim anniversary to a moment of renewed spiritual hope with the orbs briefly returning to normal. The Festival included an orb ceremony held in the main temple in Ashalla. The orbs were arrayed in a semi circle and someone would be selected to open the orb ark at the apex of the curve. It was timed so that the light would slowly return and then the rest of the arks were opened, bathing the entire interior of the temple in their glow. To be the first to open the ark was was considered the greatest privilege of the ceremony.
The temple would be packed during the ceremony. The grounds around it would also be filled with people where they could watch the ceremony on large screens. It was said that all of Bajor stopped to watch the ceremony.
After years of declining requests to attend, Jake Sisko agreed to attend the Festival in 2394. He took part in the ceremony where he opened the first ark. During this he had an orb experience. Among the other guests were Jake's family and Weyoun, representing the Dominion.