This post was originally posted as part of the Walking Through the Garden of Ridván series and is reprinted here with permission from the author, Chelsea Lee Smith.
Rejoice, with exceeding gladness, O people of Bahá!”, Bahá’u’lláh has written, “as ye call to remembrance the Day of supreme felicity, the Day whereon the Tongue of the Ancient of Days hath spoken, as He departed from His House proceeding to the Spot from which He shed upon the whole of creation the splendors of His Name, the All-Merciful! Were We to reveal the hidden secrets of that Day, all that dwell on earth and in the heavens would swoon away and die, except such as will be preserved by God, the Almighty, the All- Knowing, the All-Wise. Such is the inebriating effect of the words of God upon the Revealer of His undoubted proofs that His pen can move no longer.
Wow what a special time this is. Truly 12 days of heavenly joy… and there are so many ways to celebrate and share the happiness!
Here are five things we have done during Ridván which we have found to be lots of fun and very uplifting:
Spending time with friends
Some moms in our community got together this year for a Ridván picnic at a playground – the kids played and we all shared snacks and each other’s company. We also had a short “program” – we sang a prayer together, had a little game, and did a craft activity (making a collage of rose pictures – cut out from an old calendar – along with the quotation: “Associate with each other, think of each other, and be like a rose garden.” ~ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá). What better way to celebrate than spending time with those you love?
Sharing special treats
At our community’s gathering this year which was also a casual picnic in a park (luckily on a different day – so great there are 12 days of Ridván!), I set up a cookie-decorating station for the kids. I brought a tray, a batch of bakery cookies (from a grocery store), a tin of icing, some candies and sprinkles, and a set of colored icing tubes. Yes I know, not healthy at all, but in a pinch and because I really didn’t feel I could muster the energy to do it all homemade… I thought on a special occasion this would be fine So the kids enjoyed making cookies for themselves and for the rest of the community… it was so sweet to see how hard they worked and how proud they were when they could give the cookies away.
Going on a treasure hunt
Last year during our children’s program we had a treasure hunt for “rose chocolates” and told the children that the candies would remind them about how sweet our love is for Bahá’u’lláh. It would also be neat to hide roses or rose petals – maybe attached to a quotation or portion of the Ridván story, for older children?
Making a garden
Because it’s so lovely to think about being in a garden, we have included gardening in our Ridván activities each year. This year I splurged a bit and bought some little plant kits for the boys as one of their daily activities… I appreciated getting something where it was all ready for me since I have yet to tap into any gardening side of myself We carefully read and followed the instructions, and already one pot (the sunflower) is starting to sprout! The boys REALLY enjoyed this and I think it also makes the “garden” aspect of the Ridván story a lot more hands-on and tangible, not to mention memorable.
Gifts of love
Last year for our children’s program I also made some little gifts for the kids and parents, kind of like a “party favor.” Honestly I’m not exactly sure what the recipients thought (although everyone was of course very thankful!), but I found I actually got a whole lot out of the experience because, while making the crayons and bookmarks, I was pouring my love for Baha’u’llah into every one. As the kids get older, I’d love to give them the chance to think of some ways they could “gift” other people – maybe with crafts, baked goods, or services – during the Ridvan period, to allow them to express creatively the love and gratitude stirring within.
There are so, so many ways to feel joy and create joyful experiences for our children during these 12 glorious days… and they don’t have to be expensive or extravagant. Simply going on a nature walk to marvel at God’s creation would do the trick. In fact, we may do that tomorrow.
If you have any ways you have enjoyed celebrating Ridván and making the time especially joyful for your children, please share in the comments!
This post is part of the Walking Through the Garden of Ridvan series, where members of Baha’i Mom Blogs are sharing ideas for celebrating Ridvan during all 12 days.
Follow along by visiting this page!