Apr 142016
 

Ridvan Coloring Pages for Adults | Alldonemonkey.com

Adult coloring pages are all the rage, so I thought it would be fun to create some Ridvan coloring pages for adults!  Adult coloring pages are meant to be a relaxing, meditative exercise, so I focused on doing abstract decorations for related words and brief quotations.

You can find even more resources for families to celebrate Ridvan in this series from a few years ago, and be sure to stop by Creative World of Varya for some children’s coloring pages for Ridvan.

Ridvan Coloring Pages for Adults

Download your copies here:

Ridvan Coloring Page

“Rejoice with exceeding gladness…” Coloring Page

Full quotation: “Rejoice with exceeding gladness, O people of Bahá, 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. God is Our witness. Were We to reveal the hidden secrets of that Day, all they 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.” -Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh

“The Divine Springtime is come…” Coloring Page

Full quotation: “The Divine Springtime is come, O Most Exalted Pen, for the Festival of the All-Merciful is fast approaching. Bestir thyself, and magnify, before the entire creation, the name of God, and celebrate His praise, in such wise that all created things may be regenerated and made new. Speak, and hold not thy 28 peace. The day star of blissfulness shineth above the horizon of Our name, the Blissful, inasmuch as the kingdom of the name of God hath been adorned with the ornament of the name of thy Lord, the Creator of the heavens. Arise before the nations of the earth, and arm thyself with the power of this Most Great Name, and be not of those who tarry.” -Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh

Crown Craft: Celebrating the Ridvan, “King of Festivals”

 activities, crafts, Ridvan  Comments Off on Crown Craft: Celebrating the Ridvan, “King of Festivals”
Apr 292015
 

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.

To help think about the meaning and importance of Ridván as the “King of Festivals,” as used in the selection below, our family made crowns.

As to the significance of that Declaration let Bahá’u’lláh Himself reveal to us its import. Acclaiming that historic occasion as the “Most Great Festival,” the “King of Festivals,” the “Festival of God,” He has, in His Kitáb-i-Aqdas, characterized it as the Day whereon “all created things were immersed in the sea of purification,” whilst in one of His specific Tablets, He has referred to it as the Day whereon “the breezes of forgiveness were wafted over the entire creation.” God Passes By

I had some paper ready for the boys to choose colors from, and I had also printed out a page of small nine-pointed stars (found in Google images) for decoration. We sized the cut out crowns to their heads and then they glued on the stars where they wanted them… it was so sweet to see which ones they chose and how they wanted them placed.

Crown Craft: Celebrating the "King of Festivals" {Ridvan} | Alldonemonkey.com

After making the crowns, Zorion said he had something to ask me and he whispered into my ear, “Can we march with our crowns on?” It was too cute. So of course I said yes and, because the marching song that always comes to my mind is “Teaching Peace” by Red Grammar, we started singing and marching. (If you don’t know the song, listen to it and find the lyrics here).

Crown Craft: Celebrating the "King of Festivals" {Ridvan} | Alldonemonkey.com

We have also done made crowns for the past few years, and they still live in our dress-up box.

Crown Craft: Celebrating the "King of Festivals" {Ridvan} | Alldonemonkey.com

Crown Craft: Celebrating the "King of Festivals" {Ridvan} | Alldonemonkey.com

How are you celebrating Ridván?

Walking Through the Garden of Ridvan 2013This post is part of the Walking Through the Garden of Ridván series, where members of Baha’i Mom Blogs are sharing ideas for celebrating Ridván during all 12 days.

Follow along by visiting this page!

Tapping into the Joy of Ridvan

 activities, Ridvan  Comments Off on Tapping into the Joy of Ridvan
Apr 252015
 

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?

Tapping into the Joy of Ridvan | Alldonemonkey.com

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.

Tapping into the Joy of Ridvan | Alldonemonkey.com

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? :-)

 

Tapping into the Joy of Ridvan | Alldonemonkey.com

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.

Tapping into the Joy of Ridvan | Alldonemonkey.com

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. :-)

Tapping into the Joy of Ridvan | Alldonemonkey.com

If you have any ways you have enjoyed celebrating Ridván and making the time especially joyful for your children, please share in the comments!

Walking Through the Garden of Ridvan 2013This 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!

Celebrating the Festival of Ridvan with Music

 activities, music, Ridvan  Comments Off on Celebrating the Festival of Ridvan with Music
Apr 212015
 

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.

Ridván has come again and we are having fun celebrating each day with a little activity.

As we have been doing for the past three years, each day of Ridván the children receive a little note sharing a Ridvan related thought of the day (based on a quotation) with an activity to help discuss it. This year I’ve been putting the notes in our “homeschooling mail box” for them to open each morning after prayers.

Celebrating the Festival of Ridvan with Music | Alldonemonkey.com

Two of our activities so far have been based on music. Music is such a lovely way to introduce ideas to children, and listening in and participating in music-making can really uplift everyone’s spirit as well.

On the first day we attended our community’s Ridvan picnic, and shared a special song about Ridvan written and sung by Diana Howlett called “This is the Day.” The song is based on the three quotes below and you can find out more about the CD and even download the lyrics and sheet music on this page:

Verily I say, this is the Day in which mankind can behold the Face, and hear the Voice, of the Promised One. (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 10)

This is the Day whereon the Ocean of God’s mercy hath been manifested unto men…” (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 7)

This is the Day in which God’s most excellent favours have been poured out upon men…” (Bahá’u’lláh, The Proclamation of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 121)

Today our activity was singing the ever-famous song “Garden of Ridván” (to hear and watch a video, plus find the lyrics, visit this page). I also made it into a game by asking the boys to stand up and clap each time they heard the word “garden.” It was a lot of silly fun and I was reminded again how much children love to play and have fun with even the simplest of “games.”

Celebrating the Festival of Ridvan with Music | Alldonemonkey.com

So there are two songs we know for celebrating Ridván – do you know of any others?? Please share in the comments below!

Walking Through the Garden of Ridvan 2013This 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!

Apr 302014
 

Rose Cookies {Ridvan} - Alldonemonkey.com

It’s hard to believe that Ridván is almost over!  We have enjoyed our new decorations this year and as always have fun saying prayers and hanging out in our Ridván tent.

Today we are meeting some friends for a picnic in a local rose garden (yes, we are going crazy for roses!), so I wanted to make a special treat.

I fell in love with these adorable Easter egg sugar cookies I saw on Pinterest and was inspired to adapt her recipe to make – you guessed it! – rose cookies.  I was so happy with how they came out, in terms of looks and taste, and my Monkey tester approved as well!  (Little Monkey was more interested in smashing it to bits in his high chair, but perhaps I offered it too close to his nap time!)

These are super easy to make, and you will feel like a rock star!

Rose Cookies {Ridvan} - Alldonemonkey.com

Follow her easy recipe (I followed a suggestion from ALLterNATIVE learning and substituted coconut oil for some of the butter – it added a wonderfully light coconut flavor!), but make your coils shorter and pinch the tops to make a gentle peak.  Coil them into circles to make the rose shapes – easy and so pretty!

Bake as per her instructions, let cool, and enjoy!

Rose Cookies {Ridvan} - Alldonemonkey.com

Apr 172014
 

Spring Banners and Lazy Salt Dough Roses - Alldonemonkey.com

The Festival of Ridván is approaching, and each year I try to make it special for my kids.  This year, in addition to making a Ridván tent, I thought we should do some other decorations.  Since Ridván commemorates the time that Bahá’u’lláh spent in the Ridván Gardens outside of Baghdad, I wanted to do something with flowers.

Monkey loves play dough, so I thought he would really enjoy making salt dough ornaments – and boy, did he!  (Once I was able to tear him away from his Legos, of course).  The only problem was convincing him that we couldn’t eat them once they were done cooking :)

I found this wonderful two-part tutorial on salt dough ornaments from Tinkerlab, which includes a recipe.  As she mentions, you will probably not need the full amount of water indicated.Spring Banners and Lazy Salt Dough Roses {Ridvan} - Alldonemonkey.com

Monkey had fun rolling out the dough and doing the shapes with cookie cutters.  For the Bahá’ís in the audience, yes, you did spy some nine-pointed stars in there!  Those super cool nine-pointed star cookie cutters were an Ayyám-i-Há gift from Grandma this year from Special Ideas!

While Monkey worked the cookie cutters (and Baby played with some of the dough), I decided to try to make some roses to set on the counters.  You can find tutorials online to make beautiful, realistic roses, but I was looking for something easy that I could make while looking after my two little guys.

I used a technique similar to what I have seen others do to make paper roses: I cut a long strip out of the dough then rolled it up and pinched together the bottom.  They won’t win any contests, but Monkey took one look and said, “They’re pretty, Mommy.”  What more could a mama ask for?

Spring Banners and Lazy Salt Dough Roses {Ridvan} - Alldonemonkey.com

Once we were done, the ornaments went into the oven to bake on 25o F for just over two hours.  (Don’t forget to use a straw to make the holes so you can hang the ornaments later!)

After they had cooled, it was time to paint!  Monkey was very enthusiastic about this part as well.  I had in mind to do lots of pretty spring colors, but Monkey had other ideas.  Right away he spotted brown paint and declared he wanted to paint only with brown.  I decided to go with it, since the decorations were for him, after all – and because I had just realized how low we were on acrylic paints, meaning that I would need to use every spare drop we had, even the brown.  (For the record, he said he was making “chocolate” flowers).

Spring Banners & Lazy Salt Dough Roses {Ridvan} - Alldonemonkey.com

As it turned out, Monkey did move on to other colors – and we did run out of acrylic paint.  Luckily we had some finger paints, which worked out fine, although they are not as bright as the acrylics.

Spring Banners & Lazy Salt Dough Roses {Ridvan} - Alldonemonkey.com

We left them to dry overnight then in the morning threaded some pretty ribbon through the holes and hung up our spring banner.  I was happy with how it turned out but was over the moon with how excited the boys were about it.  Baby couldn’t stop pointing and “talking” about it, and Monkey kept dancing around shouting “Ornaments! Ornaments!”

Spring Banners & Lazy Salt Dough Roses {Ridvan} - Alldonemonkey.com

Spring Banners and Lazy Salt Dough Roses - Alldonemonkey.com

Spring Banners and Lazy Salt Dough Roses - Alldonemonkey.com

Happy Ridván to those of you celebrating, and to the rest, Happy Spring!

 

For more ideas for celebrating Ridván, be sure to check out last year’s collaborative series Walking Through the Garden of Ridván.

May 022013
 

Walking Through the Garden of Ridvan 2013It is hard to believe that as of sunset tonight (which has already happened in many places) Ridván will be over.  I have had so much fun participating in the first ever Walking Through the Garden of Ridván series with Bahá’í Mom Blogs and getting ideas for how to celebrate this special holiday with my boys.

Here is a look back on all the fun things that the participating bloggers shared during this 12 day festival.  For a full list of the posts, see our main page.


Ridvan series overview - Alldonemonkey.com

We set up a Ridván tent, learned about celebrations around the world, and sampled rose water cheesecake

Ridvan series overview - Alldonemonkey.com

…used music to celebrate, made a felt story board, and shared hospitality

Ridvan series overview - Alldonemonkey.com

…made crowns, used nightingale puppets and sensory play, and created a beautiful environment

Ridvan series overview - Alldonemonkey.com

…tapped into the joy of the festival, celebrated with loved ones, and, finally, left the beautiful garden.

How did you celebrate Ridván this year?

Apr 282013
 

Nightingales: Ridvan Craft and Sensory Play - Alldonemonkey.com

“Consider these nightingales.  So great is their love for these roses, that sleepless from dusk till dawn, they warble their melodies and commune with burning passion with the object of their adoration.  How then can those who claim to be afire with the rose-like beauty of the Beloved chose to sleep?”

– Bahá’u’lláh to His companions in the Ridván Garden, as related by Nabíl (quoted in God Passes By, p. 153).

“Hear those birds, Mommy?”  It’s just before dawn, and Monkey has crawled into our bed.  Just outside our window, the birds are singing their greeting to the sun as it begins its slow rise over the treetops.

We love listening to the birds in the morning, in that magical time suspended delicately between the dark of night and the brightness of the coming day.  In those few moments, not yet burdened by the chores of the day but full of the promise of the new dawn, we lie in bed and listen.

For Bahá’ís, this time of year brings to mind one bird in particular: the nightingale.  This bird, known for its plaintive melodies, was used frequently by Bahá’u’lláh as a metaphor for a person in love with God.  The nightingale is a prominent figure in Persian poetry, in which it is characterized by its sweet melody, sung to its beloved, the rose.  In a similar way, people in love with God will not rest but instead spend all their hours singing praises to their Beloved.

Here is a beautiful Bahá’í song that I grew up with that uses the nightingale metaphor to talk about Bahá’u’lláh.  If you’d like to play it yourself, here is the sheet music.

To teach the little ones about these beautiful birds, last year at our community gathering we did a really fun nightingale craft from the Core Curriculum for Spiritual Education.

Nightingales: Ridvan Craft and Sensory Play - Alldonemonkey.com

We set up a table with the materials, including stickers and markers to decorate the birds.  I also found some colorful streamers to use for the tails.  If you look closely, you will see one of our ladybug cupcakes on the table!

Nightingales: Ridvan Craft and Sensory Play - Alldonemonkey.com

It was a simple craft, but at the end the kids had something really cute and fun to play with.  Monkey still loves making the wings flap!

Nightingales: Ridvan Craft and Sensory Play - Alldonemonkey.com

By the time this Ridván rolled around, however, Monkey really wasn’t very interested in crafts, so I tried a different approach.  First, we listened to this recording of a nightingale’s song, which Monkey asked me to play several times.  It really is beautiful!

Then we sat in our Ridván tent and did some sensory play.  This was so much fun!  It would also make a great activity for a group.

Nightingales: Ridvan Craft and Sensory Play - Alldonemonkey.com

In case you were worried, the robots didn’t miss out on the fun!  In fact, play was suspended for several minutes as Monkey carefully rolled them – one by one – in from the other room.

Beforehand I had gathered some materials related to the holiday, such as tea bags, rose petals, a flower from our yard, and a small rose made of tissue paper.

Nightingales: Ridvan Craft and Sensory Play - Alldonemonkey.com

I covered the bowl with the beautiful blue scarf we are using as the “river” around our tent.  I had Monkey reach his hand under the scarf and try to identify the objects in the bowl.  It was hard!  Especially considering that I hadn’t prepped him at all for the kinds of things that would be in the bowl.

I then had him close his eyes and smell the tea and the flowers.  Afterwards, we examined the flower petals and noted the differences between the fresh petals and the dried ones.  We then cut open the tea bag to play with the dried leaves.  It wasn’t the first time Monkey had seen loose tea, but it was the first time I had let him play with it!

I think his favorite part, though, was our “taste test.”  It is amazing how difficult it can be to guess a flavor when it is completely out of context!  When I put some sugar on his tongue, for example, Monkey told me it tasted “spicy.”  He was surprised to see what it was!  Honey, though, he guessed instantly, probably because he frequently has it on its own.

Once Baby woke up from his nap, I let him play with some of the objects as well.  As soon as I held out the first one, his eyes got huge, and he started cooing, so I know he was excited!

Nightingales: Ridvan Craft and Sensory Play - Alldonemonkey.com

**Please note: Sensory play with infants should be strictly supervised for safety reasons.**

When doing sensory play with babies, be sure to use larger objects than you would with older children.  In addition to the choking hazard, it is also more fun for them.  Baby Monkey quickly became frustrated with small objects, as they were difficult for him to grab and hold onto.  Of course, don’t give them anything with sharp edges or points, and be very careful that they don’t put anything in their mouths, which of course they will try to do!

But if you follow precautions and good common sense, sensory play with babies is extremely rewarding.  Baby and I had so much fun, and it was a great way for him to connect to the holiday as well.

Have you done sensory play with your kids?

Walking Through the Garden of Ridvan 2013

This post is part of the series Walking Through the Garden of Ridván with Bahá‘í Mom Blogs. For a full list of the posts in this series, visit our main page.

Apr 252013
 

Felt Board: The Ridvan Garden - Alldonemonkey.comWelcome 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!

Felt Board: The Ridvan Garden - Alldonemonkey.com

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:

The Crossing

Felt Board: The Ridvan Garden - Alldonemonkey.com

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!)

The Garden

Felt Board: The Ridvan Garden - Alldonemonkey.com

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

Felt Board: The Ridvan Garden - Alldonemonkey.com

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

Felt Board - The Ridvan Garden - Alldonemonkey.com

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?

This post has been shared at A Cat Like Curiosity’s Super Handmade Sunday and Bowdabra’s Craft Showcase.

Walking Through the Garden of Ridvan 2013

This post is part of the series Walking Through the Garden of Ridván with Bahá‘í Mom Blogs. For a full list of the posts in this series, visit our main page.

Apr 222013
 

Ridvan Around the World - Alldonemonkey.comThis post is part of the series Walking Through the Garden of Ridván.

“The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.”

 – Bahá’u’lláh

Yesterday we were able to celebrate the beginning of the festival of Ridván with our local Bahá’í community.  As described in this beautiful introductory post from Creative World of Varya, Ridván commemorates the time when Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, made the bold claim that He was the Messenger of God for today, come to usher in an age of peace and prosperity for all people.

When Bahá’u’lláh made this announcement in 1863 in the beautiful Ridván Garden, He was not just speaking to His companions, or to the inhabitants of nearby Baghdad, or even to the people of Persia, His native land.  He was announcing to all the peoples of the world that they were one human family, that true peace was not only possible but inevitable, and that equality and justice could be the guiding principles of a global civilization based on both spiritual and material development.

Today, there are followers of Bahá’u’lláh all over the world, and though they come from many different cultures, ethnicities, and religious backgrounds, they are all united in their love for Bahá’u’lláh and for His teachings of world unity and peace.

And so as Bahá’ís all over the world commemorate the start of the Ridván Festival, I thought it would be fun to get a flavor of how communities in different parts of the globe celebrate this festival.

Ridvan Around the World - Alldonemonkey.com

Our Ridvan tent from last year

For myself, growing up in different parts of the US (North Carolina and New Jersey), I have fond memories of putting on plays with other children or having picnics in the park.  Here are some glimpses of how other families and communities celebrate this beautiful time:

Sarih: “Over the years we have done a variety of Ridván related activities with the kids, garden parties, treasure hunts, constructing Ridván prayer tents, picnics in rose gardens, stories, decorating with flowers etc.”

Honey of Honey’s Quilling (Malaysia): “Here we have the usual gathering with devotionals and an activity developed by the task force.”

Talieh (Northern Virginia/Alexandria): “I am planning something special for the children’s class I teach. Last year we built a tent in the middle of the room and marked the outline of an island around it. Inside the tent were some cushions, a bright table cloth on the floor serving as a carpet, and in the middle lots of roses and a picture of the Garden of Ridván in Haifa. The children said their prayers in a different part of the room and after a brief introduction to Ridván, were invited to cross the river and enter the garden. Once in the tent, the children listened to the story about Ridván, and then we drank very light tea together. It was simple, but hopefully special way to celebrate. I’d like to do something similar this year, with a few additions such as a song about Ridván and so on.

Jubilee (Austin, Texas): “We always have a big party on the first day with bouncy house, snow cones, music etc. outside of the Bahá’í center. The newly elected LSA [Local Spiritual Assembly] members serve BBQ. It is the kid’s favorite holiday, every time we have a holy day they ask if it is the ‘one with the bouncy house’.”Ridvan Around the World - Alldonemonkey.com

Felicia of Guilt to Great (New Mexico): “Our children have been learning about the garden of Ridván–one week they made flowers, the next boats, and the next nightingales. It is a tangible approach to grasping the different elements that made the garden special.”

Azarnoush of A toddler, his mum and their recipes (from Bolivia): “I remember once mum was in charge of the decorations for the celebration and she made a huge (seemed huge anyway) colorful tent made of long plastic strands over the garden at the Bahá’í Centre and then made lots and lots of paper flowers and put them on the grass everywhere. It was fantastic and super festive.”

Pamela of Gems of Oneness (currently in Ghana): “We have performed a skit every year, wherever we’ve lived, where the kids make some kind of tent with a candle inside representing the Light of Bahá’u’lláh. they have memorized the simple version of the story, each taking a part and reciting a quote as well to depict the story. they try to make the 4 rows with paper flowers lined up to the tent. they offer flowers to the inside of the tent, trying to pile them high enough to show how the people couldn’t see each other. they have served tea and taken a rose (sometimes real ones) from the inside of the tent to give to people in the audience. sometimes it’s very humble and shared only with a few people; other times it’s been performed in front of 100’s. each year the version of the story changes depending on circumstances and resources. we sing as many joyful songs about Bahá’u’lláh as possible, too!”

For more glimpses of how Ridván is celebrated around the world, visit this gallery from Enable Me to Grow or their Ridván Pinterest board.

How do you celebrate special days with your little ones?

Walking Through the Garden of Ridvan 2013

This post is part of the series Walking Through the Garden of Ridván.  Each day during the Ridván festival (April 21 – May 2), a different blogger will share the story of the festival and a craft or activity to help bring it to life for little ones.  For a full schedule, visit the series main page.

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