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.
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!
To celebrate the coming arrival of spring, here is a fun spring treasure hunt you can do with your kids. Specifically, I created it as a fun activity to celebrate the Bahá’í holiday Naw-Rúz, which falls on the first day of spring. In the past I have focused mainly on flower crafts (tulips, daffodils, and poppies, oh my!), so this year I decided to do an activity instead.
I also wanted something that I could use as part of our home schooling, as a fun way for Monkey to use some of the concepts he’s been learning. And who doesn’t love a treasure hunt??
To do this, I came up with 6 challenges for him to complete. After each one, he’ll receive a clue to a final riddle, where he has to guess what word the clues are describing. Once he solves that, he’ll get a treasure map leading to some treats! (A variation on this would be to cut the treasure map into puzzle pieces and give the child one piece after completing each challenge).
Spring Treasure Hunt
Download a printable of all of the clues at the end of this post.
Challenge #1: Life Cycle of a Seed (Biology, Sequencing)
For this, I will cut out images of the life cycle of a seed (such as those here), mix them up, and have Monkey put them in order.
Clue #1: Has 6 letters
Challenge #2: Spring True/False (Reading Comprehension, Critical Thinking, Science)
This challenge involves several simple true/false questions about spring and Bahá’í Naw-Rúz. Download your copy by right-clicking on the image below:
Clue #2: Contains the letter “R”
Challenge #3: Make a flower or tree out of Legos (Art, Engineering)
You can always vary the materials for this challenge – play dough or popsicle sticks, for example.
We will do a simple form of acrostic poetry, in which each letter of the main word is the beginning of a new line in the poem. Bahá’ís could use the word “Naw-Ruz,” and others could do “Spring” or “Flower.” After creating the poem on a sheet of poster board, we will decorate it to hang on the wall.
Clue #5: Starts with “S”
Challenge #6: Missing Words (Language Arts, Critical Thinking)
For this challenge, I took a line from this beautiful Bahá’í prayer that draws on the imagery of a seed:
I am, O my God, but a tiny seed which Thou hast sown in the soil of Thy love, and caused to spring forth by the hand of Thy bounty. – Bahá’u’lláh
I wrote it on a piece of paper, leaving out key words. I then wrote these missing words on slips of paper. Monkey will have the complete prayer to refer to, and have to determine which word goes in each space.
Clue #6: Comes after winter
Download your copy of all the clues by right-clicking and saving the image below:
Now that you have all six clues, did you guess what the answer is??
If Monkey guesses correctly (“Spring”!) then I’ll give him a treasure map, leading him straight to the spot in the house where I’ve hidden some treats. A sweet way to end the lesson, indeed!
It’s that time of year again, and I am thrilled to partner with Creative World of Varya bring you this wonderful Ayyam-i-Ha giveaway! We are so pleased to be able to offer you 3 fabulous prize packages – each including a copy of our book!
Disclosure: I received complimentary products from Delightful Design LLC; however, all opinions are my own.
One of the delights of having children is getting to celebrate holidays with them. It is enchanting to see the world through their eyes as they experience the magic of special days, and it is so fun to be a part of making that magic happen.
However, as a member of a minority religion (the Bahá’í Faith), that loving duty to create a festive home for our holidays weighs on me a bit more heavily. My children are aware that though we honor the holidays of other religions, we don’t celebrate them in the same way. To a child, of course, the most critical (and troublesome) aspects of this are that we have no Christmas tree in December, no Santa coming down the chimney to deliver gifts.
Still, when you’re the only family on your street celebrating (or the only kid in your class), for a child it can sometimes feel like the celebration is a bit thin.
So we do our best to make up the difference by making it as festive a time as possible. I have already strung up our countdown chain, and every morning during Ayyám-i-Há I’ll fill their little star stockings with treats, in addition to wrapping a few larger presents to open in the evening.
But what really signals that we are in a holiday season is hanging up decorations.
If you are thinking that all this sounds like a lot of work – you’re right! And if you’re wondering where a mother of two small children – who also blogs and home schools – finds time to do this, I’d tell you the truth, which is that most of the time I don’t. My dear sister gave us wonderful handmade flower chains that I hang every year, but otherwise I don’t do anything else in the way of decorating.
Until this year.
Last month Melissa of Delightful Design LLC (see their listing in the Ayyám-i-Há Gift Guide!) was kind enough to send me complimentary decorations from her amazing Etsy shop. They are so beautiful and fun! And – importantly for me – so EASY to put together!
Delightful Design carries everything from garlands to posters to interactive calendars for kids (in English and Spanish!) – all specially designed for Bahá’í holidays. As someone who grew up without any such items available for sale, I am amazed and grateful to have such creative, enterprising people out there!
And did I mention how EASY the decorations are to do? Each product comes with a set of easy to follow instructions, which consist of only a few simple steps. For example, with the banner (pictured here), all I had to do was print, cut, and string it up with some ribbon!
So be sure to check out this wonderful company! But be warned – you will have trouble choosing from all their super cool products, each made in numerous beautiful variations. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
How do you make your home festive for special holidays?
I am proud to announce that my Ayyam-i-Ha Gift Guide has now been updated! Stop by to discover wonderful businesses with unique products, plus family service project ideas and tutorials for homemade crafts!
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