The Ridvan Festival is approaching! From April sunset 21 April to sunset 2 May, this ‘Most Great Festival’ commemorates Baha’u'llah’s time in the garden of Ridvan in 1863 and His announcement that He was the Promised One. Over these 12 days, there are three Holy Days: the 1st (when Baha’u'llah arrived in the Garden), 9th (when the Holy Family arrived), and 12th (when they departed).
As parents, we can add a sense of wonder and magic to Holy Days for our children in many different ways. Some families like to decorate with fresh flowers and have a special meal with friends, others like to focus on singing special songs during family prayers or hosting a community party. There is no “right” or “wrong” to celebrating Holy Days. Some parents like to do the same things to establish “family traditions” while others like to try new ideas every year.
Think about how you can bring the Ridvan Garden to life, tell the story of what happened during these days, and fill your child with love for Baha’u'llah.
As an option, we’ve put together a set of 12 readings which can be used for your family devotions (one for each day of Ridvan), sharing quotations of Baha’u'llah as well as the story of Ridvan as told by Shoghi Effendi and Adib Taherzadeh.
Here are some stories from Baha’i families around the world to inspire your Ridvan celebrations this year.
- Starting in late summer, the kids start talking about when we will have Ridvan again and have our living-room-tent which they love so much. They really anticipate the Ridvan season and get so excited when they come in the first morning of Ridvan and see the transformed living room. During the 12 days, we only sit on the floor instead of the couches, we do all our prayers in the “tent”, we always make sure to have fresh roses in the middle and when we have a Ridvan celebration we also have it in the “tent.” It creates a very special atmosphere and some years we have read the Ridvan tablet while playing a recording of nightingales, creating the sound of blowing wind in the trees by moving through the plants with our hands, using a special wooden construction to create the sound of the cicadas and pouring some water to create the sound of the flowing river. It really transports you back into the Ridvan garden!
- One family hosts a Ridvan tea party, with junior youth preparing skits, stories, songs and an art project related to Baha’u'llah to present. Complete with lots of roses, tea and sweets, the kids get dressed up in their finery and have a grand time.
- This flower board has 12 leaves which the children pick each day of Ridvan, with activities such as coloring in a map of Baha’u'llah’s exile or creating rose-themed crafts.
- One family made a Ridvan Garden together out of felt which they add to every year. More photos can be seen here.
Every year we have a garden party for the kids and their friends. We normally set up a prayer tent, have lots of fresh flowers and crafts and every year I make “The World Cake” as my children call it. It is basically a cake baked in two glass bowls, stuck together and decorated with rolled fondant to depict the oceans and continents. I have a set of little plastic dolls wearing national costumes that we place around the world to dress it up. It’s pretty simple, but the kids love it and look forward to doing it every year. Find more photos here.
- Children love to actively participate in Holy Day programs, such as getting to cross the Tigris river in cardboard box boats to arrive in the Ridvan Garden. See this post for more pictures.
More ideas for making Ridvan come to life by hands-on activities can be found here.
You can also download a document to create a Ridvan Lapbook here.
Find free resources from Core Curriculum on the theme of Ridvan from this website (select the link for “The Nineteen Day Feast and Baha’i Holy Days” and the Ridvan section starts on p184).
Please share other ideas you have for celebrating Ridvan!
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