At this time of year, a very special Holy Day is approaching: November 12th is the Birth of Baha’u’llah.
Birthdays are often seen as a special time to celebrate the blessing of creation, to reflect on the meaning of life and to consider one’s contribution to others. When we celebrate the birth of others, we often let them know how special they are to us and do something to show how much we care about them.
However the birth of Baha’u’llah is so much more than just a birthday, it is a Holy Day. Therefore how can we make the occasion of celebrating this very special birth a fun and uplifting observance while also maintaining the dignity that such an event calls for? How can we share the underlying spirit of the day with our children?
First you may like to consider what the birth of Baha’u’llah actually means to you. What is the significance in your life and in the history of mankind that Baha’u’llah was born? How can we thank Him for His gifts to the world? How can we utilize the Holy Day as a source of inspiration and strength for our daily lives?
Everyone will have different answers for the questions above. However here are some possibilities for you to consider when thinking about how to celebrate the Birth of Baha’u’llah, especially with young children:
Tell the story of Baha’u’llah’s birth
Prepare for the Holy Day the night before or start the day off by enjoying a special story time together. You may like to share the story over a festive breakfast or with cookies and cuddles on the couch. Engage your children by asking them questions throughout the story and putting the historical accounts into language they can understand and relate to. Try to instill in their minds and hearts the greatness of the day ahead.
Here are some articles which may be useful for brushing up on your history of the Birth of Baha’u’llah:
A Birthday Like No Other: The Birthday of Baha’u’llah on Baha’i Blog
Birth of Baha’u’llah on the bahai.us.org
Birth of Baha’u’llah on Baha’i Blog
Birth and Childhood of Baha’u’llah on Baha’i Library
A poem which you may like to use or adapt for your children can be found here.
Give a gift
One way to honor someone is by giving a gift. You may like to ask your child, “What do you think Baha’u’llah would like for His birthday?” Even if your child is quite young, their answer may surprise you!
One mother asked her two-year-old what they should do to celebrate the birth of Baha’ullah and she responded by saying they should paint Him a picture. A gift like this, given from the heart, allows children to express their love and appreciation.
You may also like to consider an act of charity your family can offer to the world in honor of the Holy Day. Click here to see how one family made cookies and attached an explanation of the Holy Day to homemade cards before delivering them to friends and neighbors.
Celebrate by doing something special
Plan a special family experience to celebrate the day and make it memorable, such as picking fruit you can share with friends or trying something new together. Have fun and take time to create joyful memories, even if it’s doing something simple in your own home. The joy and love you feel and express will go a long way in showing your children how special the day is.
Here are some ideas:
- Make a cake together
- Decorate the house (click here to find out about the lovely bell craft pictured above and to learn a related song about the Holy Day)
- Do an activity inspired by the history of Baha’u’llah’s life or His teachings
If you live in a Baha’i community which is putting on a celebration, you may like to attend. Or you can host your own small gathering.
Sing joyful music
Music can touch our souls deeply and allow us to express emotions beyond the spoken word. Choose some Baha’i prayers and songs to sing which your family knows already, and consider learning a new one to celebrate the day. You can find a large list of songs (many with recordings so you can learn them) on the Ruhi Resources website or the Core Curriculum music page.
Here is a sweet action song called “Love for Baha’u’llah” which young children may enjoy learning.
[box type=”download”] Download the Love for Baha’u’llah Song Lyrics.[/box]
Express your gratitude
Baha’u’llah was God’s gift to the world. His teachings guide each of us in our daily lives and set the foundation for world unity and peace. Spending a few minutes dedicated to filling up with thankfulness for this special day can be powerfully moving. Here are a few ideas for expressing gratitude:
- Compose a tune to one of your favorite prayers revealed by Baha’u’llah and share it with family and friends
- Discuss how a particular quotation revealed by Baha’u’llah inspires you and draw a picture about it
- Light some candles and spend a few moments of quiet reflection together
Holy Days are unique events during the year for us to pause and consider the glory of the Faith, and realign our efforts to serve the Cause. Whatever you end up doing to celebrate the day, keeping the love for Baha’u’llah at the center is the most important. When children are older they probably wont remember the particulars of every Holy Day, but they will likely remember how they felt and carry those feelings over into their observances of Holy Days as teenagers and adults. So don’t be concerned if you cannot do everything you would like to or things don’t go quite to plan. The spiritual observance of the Holy Day is the most important.
Disclaimer: The activities offered in this post are not meant to appear as “traditions” or advice for what Baha’is “should do.” We especially do not mean to suggest that cultural or commercialized norms be adopted unnecessarily (i.e. birthday parties, presents, etc). The set of ideas here should be used with your discretion.
How have you celebrated the Birth of Baha’u’llah in the past, or what will you do this year? Please share by commenting below!