Ridván is the most holy time of year for Bahá’ís, and it can be a magical time for children. This year, help kids “journey” back to Baghdad in 1863 with these Ridvan printable train tickets! Great to use for prayer time at home or for children’s classes. Scroll down to print your free copy.
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Last year, I created this Ridvan printable for my kids – pretend train tickets to help them “journey” back to Baghdad in 1863! Just like on real old-fashioned train tickets, you can punch these tickets on each day you use them. So for example, you can punch “1” on the first day of Ridván, “2” on the second day, etc.
I’m planning on putting together some activities for the kids each day on our “train trip,” but you could also just punch the tickets each morning before saying prayers together and reading some of the history behind Ridván from a book like the beautiful The Life of Baha’u’llah. To really set the mood, many families have an indoor tent or canopy like this one. We’ve also simply hung a white sheet between two sofas as our “tent” and made tissue paper roses to decorate it.
However, you choose to use the tickets, have a magical celebration!
The Festival of Ridván begins next week, and because it commemorates Bahá’u’lláh’s stay in a garden full of roses, I love to do rose crafts and activities with my children to celebrate (like make these rose cookies). Inspired by the roses that were piled in Bahá’u’lláh’s tent each day (so many that His guests could not see each other over them!) I have gathered together a huge list of rose crafts, play and learning activities, and recipes for you. Enjoy!
Ridván is the “King of Festivals” for Bahá’ís and commemorates the 12 days that Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. camped on the banks of the Tigris River near Baghdad and, while there, proclaimed His mission to a small group of followers. (To read more click here).
I wanted to create some sort of way for our family to get a surprise on each of the 12 days (plus a decoration to have out during the Ridván period). Luckily I happened to find a piece of homemade art at a second-hand shop made out of wood with 12 wooden flowers, so I used it to make this Ridvan flower board. I took off the random bits that were on it (stickers, pieces of paper, buttons, paper muffin cups etc decorating the flowers) and repainted it, cut up some leaves and painted them too, then added little jewels, some decorative ribbon, and some letters and numbers I bought.
You can make your flower board out of cardboard, card stock, cloth, etc. You could either add leaves or flowers – if with cloth a little tab of velcro may work well to attach them, and if it’s paper then try using blue tac.
I put a little surprise activity on a post-it note on the back of each of the leaves. The leaves are attached to the frame with sticky tac, so that my son can take them off to read on the appropriate day. (You can use pictures for younger children so they can “read” the notes themselves).
For a group project, you could give each child a flower or leaf to decorate and add to the board. And you could either post up quotations or numbers on top of the flowers/leaves for each day.
Because we’ve been in the groove of celebrating Holy Days for the past few years, it is seeming to come so much more naturally now and I don’t feel stressed about getting things together but just going with the flow. So if you are new to the idea of celebrating but want to do something, don’t worry if it seems difficult at first or like it’s too much to plan. The smallest and simplest of things mean the most to children… like today I arranged the fruit on the plate in a pretty way for morning snack (ie grapes in the middle of the plate surrounded by cut up pears and apples) and the boys were super impressed. Just putting in a little effort here and there to make things festive and remembering to talk about the meaning of the day is great. And with a little practice, it will all come together easily.
Chelsea Lee Smith is a mother of three and is passionate about empowering families with tools for character education so that they can contribute to making the world a better place. She blogs at Enable Me To Grow offering activities, ideas and resources for character building and more.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
We have also done made crowns for the past few years, and they still live in our dress-up box.
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!
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.
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.”
So there are two songs we know for celebrating Ridván – do you know of any others?? Please share in the comments below!
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!
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!
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 🙂
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?
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).
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.
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!”
Happy Ridván to those of you celebrating, and to the rest, Happy Spring!
It 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.