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.
February 14, 2017Ayyam-i-HaComments Off on Find Great Ayyam-i-Ha Gifts in our Ayyam-i-Ha Gift Guide!
Looking for some great Ayyam-i-Ha gifts for your loved ones? Find something for everyone (including homemade gifts and crafts) in our newly updated Ayyám-i-Há Gift Guide, while supporting Bahá’í-inspired and globally minded businesses!
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
This year for Women’s History Month, I’d like to share the stories of some of the women from Baha’i history that have inspired me. They are community leaders, adventurers, educators, Civil Rights advocates, journalists, and a 16 year old martyr. Also, don’t miss Ten Baha’i Women Every Person Should Know – it’s a fabulous article, and I’ve made sure not to duplicate her list, so read hers if you don’t want to miss anybody!
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of books from the Crowned Heart series; however, all opinions are my own.
Bahiyyih Khánum (1846 – 1932)
Bahiyyih Khánum, Akka, 1895
The daughter of the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, Bahiyyih Khánum’s life story is intimately tied to the early history of the religion itself. She was a young child when her Father was first thrown into prison and she endured with her family their subsequent exiles. Her active participation and contributions to the development of the young religious community were unusual in a time and place where most women were deprived of education and cut off from public life. During a period of crisis in 1921, it was she who took the helm of the international Bahá’í community, making her unique in religious history. A wonderful book about her life and times is Prophet’s Daughter by Janet Khan.
Phoebe Hearst (1842 – 1919)
Phoebe Apperson Hearst, circa 1919
Living in California, of course, I have to mention Phoebe Hearst. And yes, I do mean that Phoebe Hearst: American philanthropist, feminist, suffragist, and mother to media tycoon William Randolph Hearst. One of my son’s little friends attends an elementary school named after her! Phoebe Hearst was a major supporter of education, serving as the first Regent of the University of California, Berkeley and founding the museum that is today known as the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology. She also contributed to the establishment of the National Congress of Mothers, which later evolved into the National Parent-Teacher Association. Among Bahá’ís she is best known as an early supporter of the Bahá’í Faith in the US and the organizer of the first group of Bahá’ís from the West to travel to the East on pilgrimage to visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Head of the Bahá’í Faith, then living under house arrest in Palestine. (Sources: Hearst Castle, The Journey West)
Louisa Mathews Gregory (1866 – 1956)
Louis and Louisa Gregory, first interracial marriage among the Bahá’ís in the US
Louisa (Louise) Mathews was an white English Bahá’í who ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, then the Head of the Bahá’í community, encouraged to marry Louis Gregory, a prominent African American Bahá’í. The two had met several years earlier in Egypt. They married in 1912 in a quiet ceremony, becoming the first interracial couple among the Bahá’ís at a time when marriage between blacks and whites was still illegal in many parts of the US. Their married life was difficult, as it was hard for them even to find a place to live together. Louis’s work among the Bahá’ís often took him to the Deep South, where it was dangerous – indeed, impossible – for her to accompany him. The two were forced to spend long periods apart, often causing rumors that their marriage was failing. But the opposite was true. Their marriage thrived for nearly forty years until Louis’s death in 1951. Louis remarked that throughout their marriage they had “one spirit, one purpose…” Little has been written about Louisa, but you can find more about her in this biography of her husband. (Sources: The Journey West, A Forbidden Marriage, Bahá’í Encyclopedia Project)
Martha Root (1872 – 1939)
Martha Root, source Wikipedia
From childhood, Martha Root was not like other girls. She was not interested in cooking, knitting, or sewing – she preferred her books. After a brief career in education she jumped into her life-long vocation as a journalist. She became a Bahá’í in 1909, but it was after meeting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in 1912 during his trip to the US that her life was truly transformed. In 1915 she set off on what was to become the first of many around the world trips to promote the Bahá’í Faith. After the passing of her father in 1922, she traveled continuously. Throughout her life she met with world leaders in far flung countries (including Queen Marie of Romania, who became the first monarch to embrace the Bahá’í Faith) and introduced them to the principles of the young religion, often becoming the first Bahá’í to set foot in that land. She visited every continent and taught the Bahá’í Faith wherever she went – writing newspaper articles, meeting with political leaders, and speaking at universities, women’s groups, peace congresses, and on the radio – all of this when she was already middle aged and in ill health because of a protracted battle with breast cancer. Histories of Bahá’í communities around the world begin with “Martha Root first visited in…” You can read more about her remarkable life in this biography. (Sources: Bahá’í Library, second article from Bahá’í Library, Bahá’í Blog)
Dorothy Baker (1898-1954)
Granddaughter of a prominent early Bahá’í in the US, Dorothy Baker was in her early life at times lukewarm in her commitment to the religion. It was only after a health scare in 1929 that she dedicated her life to serving in the Bahá’í administration and spreading its teachings. For 14 years she was a member of the national governing body of the Bahá’ís in the US, including several years as its first female Chair. She served on nine national committees and visited countries throughout the Americas and Europe, where she was known as a powerful speaker. In 1951 she was named a Hand of the Cause (as was Martha Root, above), one of the most distinguished offices in the religion. You can read more about her in this biography. (Source Bahá’í Blog)
Clara Dunn (1869 – 1960)
Born in England, Clara Dunn migrated to the US in 1902 after suffering the deaths of both her husband and a young son. Shortly after, she accepted the Bahá’í teachings and then in 1916 married Hyde Dunn, who was to become her companion throughout a lifetime of teaching the Bahá’í Faith first in California and later in Australia. Clara and Hyde were the first Bahá’ís in Australia, where they lived in a number of different cities and welcomed interested people into their home for informal meetings that lasted late into the night. Due to her role in nurturing the young Bahá’í community, she became known as Mother Dunn. Late in life, in 1952, she also was appointed a Hand of the Cause. (Source: Bahá’í Encyclopedia Project, Crowned Hearts series)
In my research about all of the remarkable women in this article, I have relied on online articles or biographies for adults. Yet for Clara Dunn I was pleased to find this beautiful children’s biography, part of the Crowned Hearts series of books for children about several prominent Baha’i women. Through simple text and gorgeous watercolor paintings, it conveys the essence of her story to young readers. With so few such books available, it is truly a treasure and highly recommended as a way to introduce children to the lives of these amazing women.
Corinne True (1861 – 1961)
Corinne Knight True
Another Hand of the Cause was Corinne True, best known in Baha’i history as the “Mother” of the first Bahá’í temple in the West, located outside of Chicago. As a young mother, the loss of five of her eight children sent her on a spiritual journey which eventually led to her acceptance of the Bahá’í Faith. Tasked by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá with the building of the temple at a time when the Bahá’í community in the US was still very young, Corinne organized meetings, gathered funds, and found the spot where the temple could be built. Because of intervening world wars and economic depression, “Mother True” was an elderly woman when the temple was finally completed but will forever be associated with this historic building. (Sources: The Journey West, Bahá’í Library, Crowned Hearts series)
Another installment in the Crowned Hearts series is this wonderful children’s biography of True. It tells of the sorrows and triumphs of her life in language that children can easily understand. Its message and beautiful artwork speak to the heart and help children learn more about this beloved figure.
Lidia Zamenhof (1904 – 1942)
The daughter of Esperanto founder Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof, Lidia Zamenhof played a significant role in the promotion of the language and advocating a universal outlook at a time of increasing nationalism. Born in Poland, Zamenhof was one of the first European Bahá’ís from a Jewish background. She was also a well-known translator of Esperanto. In her last years she returned to Poland to teach Esperanto and the Bahá’í Faith. She was arrested by the Nazis because of her Jewish heritage and forced into the Warsaw Ghetto, where she is remembered for her efforts to obtain food and medicine for others. She later perished in the Treblinka camp in 1942. Her memory was honored at the US Jewish Holocaust Museum in 1995, which remembered the efforts of the Esperantists to help rescue Jews from persecution during World War II. (Sources: Baha’i Library)
Amatu’l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khánum (1910 – 2000)
Amatu’l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khánum
Mary Maxwell, later known as Amatu’l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khánum, was born into a prominent Canadian Bahá’í family. Her mother, May Bolles Maxwell, was a star teacher of the religion, and her father, William Sutherland Maxwell, was a distinguished architect and later Hand of the Cause. Ruhiyyih Khánum was the wife of Shoghi Effendi, who was the great-grandson of Bahá’u’lláh and head of the international Bahá’í community after the passing of his grandfather ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Ruhiyyih Khánum was Shoghi Effendi’s “shield,” his “helpmate,” and his “tireless collaborator.” In her role as Hand of the Cause, she was critical in guiding the Bahá’í community after Shoghi Effendi’s death. In 1964 she began what was to become decades of global travel to meet with dignitaries and encourage the growing Bahá’í communities on every continent, traveling to over 185 countries and territories. She served as the representative of the Bahá’í community in public gatherings and meetings with international leaders, yet she was equally at home in remote villages and hamlets, meeting with and inspiring people from all walks of life. (Sources: Bahá’í Blog, Baha’i.org)
Sarah Pereira (d. 1995)
Granddaughter of slaves, Sarah Martin Pereira was a distinguished professor of languages and well-known teacher in the Bahá’í Faith. Her parents, prominent African Americans in Cleveland, Ohio, were introduced to the Bahá’í Faith by Louis Gregory, husband of Louisa Gregory above. Her father was a well-known lawyer and her mother second woman and first African American to serve on the Cleveland Board of Education. A portrait of her mother Mary Martin appears in the excellent book Lights of the Spirit. Pereira served on the national administrative body of the Bahá’ís of the US for many years and later was appointed as one of four Continental Counselors – a high administrative office – for the Bahá’ís of North America. She was known for her commitment to scholarship and support of education. In her later years she lived in North Carolina, and we were lucky enough to live close by. We frequently gave her rides to local Bahá’í events, and one time as part of a fundraiser my sister and I helped her organize papers in her office. I remember her as soft-spoken but to the point and always dignified with a gentle sense of humor. (Source: Lights of the Spirit)
Magdalene Carney (1929 – 1991)
Magdalene Carney first heard of the Bahá’í Faith from Sarah Pereira (above). She was a writer, Civil Rights advocate, and educator. Also the granddaughter of slaves, she was committed to receiving the education they had been denied. In 1969, she organized and led the peaceful desegregation of the public school system in Canton, Mississippi. After becoming a Bahá’í, she served it tirelessly, including as a member of the national administrative body of the US and later as part of the International Teaching Centre in Israel. The Magdalene Carney Bahá’í Institute in Florida was named in her honor and carries on her educational work. (Source: Bahaikipedia)
Mona Mahmudnizhad (1965 – 1983)
A high school student, Mona Mahmudnizhad became known worldwide after her shocking execution at the age of 16 by the Iranian government for the crime of teaching Bahá’í children’s classes. Members of the Bahá’í Faith have regularly faced persecution in Iran, the land of its birth, since its inception in 1844, but this persecution intensified in 1979 with the Islamic revolution. From early on, Mona was known as an outstanding student who had genuine love for those around her. In 1982 Mona and her father were among 40 Bahá’ís arrested in the city of Shiraz, as part of escalating arrests throughout the country. In June 1983 Mona was hanged along with nine other Bahá’í women, ranging in ages from early 20’s to 54. Her father had been executed earlier that year. I was just a child when Mona was killed, but I remember the electric effect it had on the Bahá’ís in our community, with many openly weeping when they heard the news. Mona is remembered today as a model for Bahá’í youth everywhere because of her love, enthusiasm and dedication. According to one report, the government in Iran still fears the martyr they created more than 30 years ago. The Bahá’ís continue to face persecution in Iran, including arrests, closing of businesses, denial of higher education, and desecration of cemeteries. (Sources: Bahaikipedia, Iran Press Watch, Bahá’í Chronicles)
Join us for our second annual Women’s History Month series, celebrating the contributions and accomplishments of women around the world. Follow along all month plus link up your own posts below! Don’t miss our series from last year, and find even more posts on our Women’s History board on Pinterest:
Here is another free printable for you: Ayyam-i-Ha gift tags! I had so much fun making these! They are business card sized, so you can either punch a hole in them and attach to a gift with ribbon, or you can drop them instead a treat bag. For some I deliberately left off the “To” field, in case – like us – you will be taking treats to your child’s classroom and don’t want to label each individual tag.
Don’t miss our printable Ayyam-i-Ha bookmarks, which are great in the classroom or as teacher gifts! You can find even more gift ideas, including craft tutorials and service projects, in our Ayyam-i-Ha Gift Guide!
Looking for a great gift for your loved ones this Ayyám-i-Há? Here is a collection of wonderful Ayyam-i-Ha gifts on Etsy, from — to –. Don’t forget you can find even more Ayyam-i-Ha gifts in my gift guide, including our Ayyam-i-Ha Fun e-book!
Papalóte has decorative designs, including Ayyám-i-Há bunting and greeting cards.
Please note that while we have made great efforts to ensure the quality and integrity of the participating businesses and blogs, inclusion in the Gift Guide in no way constitutes an endorsement and All Done Monkey is not responsible for the content of the websites included in this Guide.
With the approach of the Bahá’í holiday of Ayyam-i-Ha, many of us like to share treats or small gifts with friends or in our children’s classrooms. These printable bookmarks are an easy, fun way to share the spirit of the holiday and teach a little something about what we were are celebrating.
I chose some of my favorite quotes from the Bahá’í writings and included them in the bookmarks, which you can download here: Ayyam-i-Ha Bookmarks.
The Bahá’í holiday of Ayyam-i-Ha is coming soon, and while I loved the countdown chain we’ve done previously, this year I wanted to jazz it up a little and do something a little more crafty and maybe even pretty.
A popular symbol among Bahá’ís is the nine-pointed star, since the number nine symbolizes unity. I wanted to play with this image and see if I could combine it with a flower, since spring is also just around the corner (or at least that’s what I keep telling myself!) So I made a flower countdown calendar that when opened is also a nine-pointed star.
A photo posted by Leanna Alldonemonkey (@alldonemonkey) on
As any Bahá’í will tell you, a nine-pointed star is not the easiest symbol to have. Most of us can’t just casually draw a star with nine evenly spaced point or fold a piece of paper into a simple nine-pointed origami star. And neither, I’ve discovered, is it very easy to cut a circle into nine equal slices.
And nineteen is also a challenging number in many respects. The Bahá’í month is 19 days long, so a countdown calendar should have 19 parts. But how do you draw a flower with 19 petals??
So now, thanks to the magic of computers, I’ve done the legwork for you, and you can simply print and assemble your nine-pointed star flower countdown calendar! For those not celebrating Ayyam-i-Ha, it is still a beautiful, fun craft!
Cut out the circles on the first two pages, cutting about a 1/2 inch outside of the drawn line. Cut the lines into the circle as well.
Cut out a circle large enough to cover the photo on the 3rd page and tape it over like a little door or window.
Glue the circles on top of the third page. The small wheel should go on first and then the larger wheel on top of that. Make sure they are all centered on top of each other.
I lined up the lines of each of the circles, though it would also be a nice effect to put them off center, so the petals alternate colors when opened.
Write a number on each petal (with “19” on the final window to the photo of the globe) and then decorate however you like! On the first day of the month before Ayyam-i-Ha, begin folding back one petal a day, starting with “1” and going all the way to “19” on the final day.
How are you getting ready for Ayyam-i-Ha? If you do this craft, I’d love for you to share the photo on my Facebook page! And be sure to scroll down to enter our annual Ayyam-i-Ha giveaway!
The Bahá’í holiday the Declaration of the Báb is coming up next week, so I wanted to share some fun activities we did to celebrate last year. There are lots of creative ways you can celebrate. One year we held a play date, complete with storytelling and games, while another year we had a treasure hunt in a park. This year we did a scavenger hunt and craft, rounded out with some treats!
In the past we’ve focused on the idea of search, to commemorate Mulla Husayn’s search for the Promised One (the Báb). To continue this theme, our first activity was a simple scavenger hunt at the park. Simple is key because the boys were still rather young (4 and 1), and we were at the park, so I knew their attention spans for structured activities would be rather short.
For the items on their list, I threw in some general spring items (flowers, birds), plus others to do with the holy day: Since “the Báb” is an Arabic title meaning “the Gate” I had them look for any gates. (There were several at this park; if there aren’t any at yours, you could always modify it to include doors). And since green was a color associated with the Báb (throughout much of Islamic history in Persia, only the descendents of Muhammad, such as the Báb, were allowed to wear green), I also had the boys look for as many green things as they could find. Not hard to do in a park!
Following up on the color green, after we got home we did a modified version of this really fun fireworks painting craft from Artsy Momma.
The kids enjoyed the novelty of painting with the pipe cleaners (painting with unusual materials is always a hit!), and their paintings turned out beautifully.
And, of course, since it was a holiday, we couldn’t forget the treats! I found these great treat boxes at the Dollar Tree in the section for wedding showers. They came flat, which made them easy to decorate, plus Monkey had fun “building” his box once it was done.
And they were just the right size for the pencils, stickers, and lollipops I had gotten for them. In fact, Monkey’s treat box remained in his room as a holder of miscellaneous treasures for quite some time.
Happy Declaration of the Báb! How are you celebrating?
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.