Welcome to the next stop in our series “Walking Through the Garden of Ridván.” So far we have set up a Ridván tent, looked at how families around the world celebrate the holiday, sampled a scrumptious rose water cheesecake, and celebrated with some joyous music. For a list of upcoming posts in this series, visit our main page.
There are very few storybooks about the Ridván Festival, particularly for young children, so I decided to create a felt board to use to tell the story to Monkey. I had a lot of fun making it, and felt boards are such a wonderful way to bring stories to life for little ones.
Monkey’s summary of the story: “One day, Bahá’u’lláh go garden, see friends there. Garden have lots roses.”
I first came across felt boards (often called “flannel boards”) in a busy bag swap with my mom’s group. One of the busy bags we got had a small flannel board and the felt shapes for several simple pictures, such as a snowman. Another contained basic shapes for children to invent their own pictures. Monkey adored making and re-making pictures with his felt shapes, so I thought this would be a great, hands-on way for him to engage with the story.
To make the felt board, I cut out a piece of cardboard from an old diaper box and laid a piece of flannel over one side. (I chose a light blue for the sky). I then folded the edges of the flannel around to the back of the cardboard and glued it on tight using craft glue. It was much simpler than I had expected!
Cutting out all the felt pieces took much longer, but these story boards can be as simple or as complicated as you want. I decided to do four basic scenes, all of which were fairly simple – except for all of those roses! We’ll see how long all those little pieces lasts
Here is our story:
Bahâ’u’llâh and His companions were forced to leave their homes. They had to travel a long, long way to get to their new home. Before they left on their trip, they stopped at a beautiful garden called the Ridvân Garden. To get there, they had to cross a river on a boat. (Okay, okay, I’m pretty sure Bahâ’u’llâh didn’t use a cute little sailboat like this, but there are only so many shapes I can cut out of felt!)
When they crossed the river they arrived in a beautiful garden. It was full of roses. Bahâ’u’llâh named the garden “Ridván,” which means “paradise” because it was so beautiful.
Roses in the Tent
Bahâ’u’llâh and His friends put up tents to sleep in. Every morning they would sit on cushions in Bahâ’u’llâh’s tent to drink their tea. The gardeners knew Bahâ’u’llâh loved roses, so they would bring lots of roses to Him. There were so many that when the friends sat down on their cushions, they couldn’t see each other over the pile of roses!
Humanity as a Rose Garden
While He was staying in the garden, Bahâ’u’llâh told His friends something very important. (When I asked Monkey what this message was, he said it was “’bout robots.” Um…close! Okay, not really )
He said that we are all like the roses in the garden and God is like the sun. The sun helps the roses grow, just like God helps our souls to grow and be strong. Bahâ’u’llâh said that everyone – no matter where they were from or how different they looked – was part of the same rose garden and got light from the same sun.
Hope you enjoyed our story! Have you ever used a felt board with your kids?