FESTIVAL OF RIDVAN
Between 21 April and 2 May 2004
By Caroline Donne
for Whole School or Class Assembly
Oneness of mankind, unity,
the global family, belonging.
- The Baha'i faith
is the youngest of the world's religions. It was founded by
Bahá'u'lláh (1817-1892), and his followers regarded him as the
most recent of God's messengers, including Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster,
Christ and Muhammad. The Baha'i faith is centred on the idea that all people
belong to one human family and that the time has come to recognize this and to
work for the unity of all people. The faith grew out of the Shi'ite branch of
Islam in Iran. The coming of Bahá'u'lláh was announced by a young
Iranian called 'The Bab'.
- The festival of
Ridvan (pronounced Rizwan) is significant because it celebrates the time when
Bahá'u'lláh officially announced that he was the prophet
proclaimed by the Bab. The festival takes its name from the garden on the
outskirts of Baghdad in which this happened. It became known as the Garden of
- A picture of a
- A board on which
to write key words like Bahia, Bahá'u'lláh, etc.
- Introduce the idea of belonging.
What do children feel they belong to? Give examples such as school, Brownies,
Cubs, a family, a class.
What does it mean to belong? Share some ideas
together, such as: to do the same things together; to have the same purpose; to
care for the people to whom we feel we belong; to feel welcomed by others. How
do you feel if you don't belong?
- Explain that today's assembly is
about a man who came to tell people that they belonged to one another, that
they were part of one big family - the human family. His name was
Bahá'u'lláh. Refer to the globe and introduce the idea that
Bahá'u'lláh said this human family lives in different places,
wears different clothes and eats different food, but that it belongs together
because it lives in the same world.
Explore what it means to belong to
the human family. What do we have in common with one another?
- Invite six children up to the
front. Ask them to stand in a circle and hold hands. Now invite another child
up to the front. Tell the one child (without anyone else hearing) that when you
say 'Go', he or she must try and get into the circle of six children. Now tell
the six children (without letting anyone else hear) that when you say 'Go',
they must try and prevent the one child from getting into their circle, but
they must not let go of each other's hands.
Say the word 'Go'. You
don't need to let what happens go on for too long, but the point is to
establish what it is like when someone is prevented from 'belonging'.
- Invite children to comment on
what happened and to think about what it must have felt like for the one child
to be prevented from belonging. Ask the child to describe how they felt.
Go on to explain that Bahá'u'lláh said the time had come
for people to stop fighting and disagreeing and to recognize that they were one
big family, created and loved by one God.
The followers of
Bahá'u'lláh are known as Baha'is. At this time they celebrate the
day on which Bahá'u'lláh began to tell people that he had been
chosen by God to give this important message. The celebration is known as
Ridvan, named after the garden outside Baghdad in Iraq where this happened.
Ridvan means paradise. The Baha'is, the followers of Bahá'u'lláh,
have often been criticized and have suffered because of their beliefs.
on the themes
Invite the children to think about the
idea of us belonging together because we are all human and live in one world.
If this is so, how does it mean we should treat one another?
Invite the children to keep a time of
quiet. You could use these words as a prayer.
God of all,
Thank you for the world you have made.
Thank you for all the different people who live in it.
We are sorry for
the times we forget that we belong to one human family.
Help us to care for