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Naw Ruz: 'The beginning of spring' (21 March)

To explain the Baha’í Faith holiday of Naw-Ruz and to encourage understanding of different religious holidays.

by Emma Burford

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To explain the Baha’í Faith holiday of Naw-Ruz and to encourage understanding of different religious holidays.

Preparation and materials

  • The script is suitable for Years 3 to 6 to perform.
  • Cast:
    Mum
    Dad
    Gran
    Child 1
    Child 2
    Child 3
    Child 4
    Big Brother
    Big Sister
    Miss Cook
    Presenter
    Prof. Kew
    Mr Green
    Principle 1
    Principle 2
    Principle 3
  • Staging ideas  Split the stage into three sections, with the left side being an area for Miss Cook, Mr Green and the three Principles; the centre (which could be a kitchen, living room or outside) being for the family, and the right side being for the Presenter and Prof. Kew.
  • Costume ideas  The best costumes are the simple ones that symbolize a character, for example, all the children in black with pieces of costume showing their character – Gran could wear a woollen cardigan; the Principles could just wear black with a sash saying what their principle is. I’m sure the children will have lots of ideas!
  • Props  Table and nine chairs centre stage (optional: the family could sit on the floor).
  • Links with art  Children could create posters that explain the equinox and hold them up during Prof. Kew’s explanation.
    You could also produce pictures and posters to accompany the three principles of the Baha’i Faith.
  • Curriculum link  Drama, English and RE.

Assembly

  1. Today we are going to introduce you to a festival that is happening this month. This festival celebrates the start of spring. Let’s watch the children tell their story.
  2. The first day of spring

    (Dad, Gran, Child 1, Child 2, Child 3, Child 4 are sitting round the table, centre stage)

    Mum (entering and sitting down)  That’s it! I’ve finally put away all your Christmas presents! It’s only taken me three months!
     
    Dad  Why is it that at Christmas the living room always looks like Toys R Us?
     
    Gran  So many presents! We never had that many when I was a girl.
     
    Child 1  We know, Gran. We’re very lucky!
     
    Mum  Anyway, at least this means I can now get on with my spring cleaning.

    Child 1  Ah! Mum’s legendary spring clean!
     
    Child 2  Spring has definitely arrived then!
     
    Child 3  Well, it should do anyway – because it’s the holy day of Naw-Ruz.
     
    Gran  Naw-Ruz? What’s this Naw-Ruz?
     
    Mum  I can’t say I’ve heard of it either!
     
    Dad  Is this a new computer game or something?
     
    Child 4  No, Dad, it marks the coming of spring.
     
    Child 3  Oh, I remember that from last year! Miss Cook said . . .
     
    Miss Cook (entering left side of the stage area)  Naw-Ruz is one of the nine holy days of the Baha’í Faith.
     
    Child 3  She said,
     
    Miss Cook  It always falls on or around the twenty-first of March. (Steps back and freezes)
     
    Child 1  Which is the vernal equinox, apparently.
     
    Dad  The vernal equinox?

    (Big Brother enters and sits down)

    Big Brother  Hi, everyone, what are we talking about?
     
    Dad  The vernal equinox.
     
    Big Brother  Oh . . . what’s that?
     
    Child 2  Well, the word ‘vernal’ comes from the Latin word ver, meaning spring. In some religions the vernal equinox is a holy day.
     
    Dad  When did you get so clever!
     
    Child 1  We learned it from a video we watched.

    (Presenter and Prof. Kew enter right side of the stage area)
     
    Presenter  Hello and welcome to Science Explained. Today we are talking about the wonderful world of . . . the equinox. And here to explain it is Professor Charlie Kew.
     
    Prof. Kew  An equinox happens twice a year each year. You know that the Earth moves around the sun. Well, an equinox marks the moment when a location on the Earth’s equator, known as the subsolar point, is vertically below the centre of the sun. On these two days, there are twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of darkness. Day and night are the same length.This normally happens around the twentieth or twenty-first of March and the twenty-second or twenty-third of September each year. The March equinox is called the vernal equinox. (They step back and freeze)
     
    Child 2  So there, at the vernal equinox, we have the holy day of Naw-Ruz – the beginning of spring.
     
    Child 1  And the beginning of spring cleaning in our house.
     
    Big Brother  OK, I think I get that. But who celebrates this holy day?
     
    Child 4  I thought you were cleverer than us!
     
    Big Brother  Not in everything, I admit. We never learned this when I was at school.

    (Big Sister enters and sits down)

    Big Sister
     What are we all doing? Everyone seems to be listening very carefully!
     
    Dad  We’re learning about Naw-Ruz.
     
    Mum  The holy day to celebrate the coming of spring.
     
    Gran  It’s on the same day as the vernal equinox.
     
    Big Sister  That being . . ?
     
    Gran  It’s when the sun is directly above a point on the equator. And day and night are the same length.
     
    Child 4  Wow, Gran. Well remembered!
     
    Child 3  You’re all taking it in!
     
    Child 2  We’re teaching our parents!
     
    Big Brother  And you were just about to tell us who celebrates this holy day.
     
    Child 1  Oh, that’s an easy question! It’s celebrated in the Baha’í Faith.
     
    Child 2  Originally known as Babism.
     
    Child 4  Miss Cook said,
     
    Miss Cook (stepping forward)  The Baha’í Faith started in the nineteenth century in Persia, now called Iran. The Baha’i Faith has three core principles.

    (The three Principles enter on the left side of the stage area)

    Principle 1  I am the first principle and I teach the unity of God. There is one God only.
     
    Principle 2  I am the second principle and I teach the unity of religion. In their central teaching all religions are united because they all worship and reveal the same one God.
     
    Principle 3  I am the third principle and I teach the unity of humanity.

    Miss Cook  Thank you, Principles. The main aim of the Baha’í Faith is to achieve world peace. (They all step back and freeze)
     
    Mum
      I must tell Miss Cook what a wonderful teacher she is.
     
    Dad
      I know. The children are remembering all this information!
     
    Child 3  This day is celebrated in countries such as Iran, where it’s a national holiday.
     
    Child 4  Azerbaijan.
     
    Child 1  Afghanistan.
     
    Child 2  Tajikistan.
     
    Dad  So it all comes from the Baha’í Faith?
     
    Child 2  Yep. Baha’ullah was the founder of the Faith.
     
    Child 3  He said that Naw-Ruz should be kept as a holy day.
     
    Big Sister  And he said that Naw-Ruz means the beginning of spring?
     
    Child 4  Well, we had an assembly on him and his son, Abdul-Baha.
     
    Child 1  Baha’ullah’s successor.
     
    Child 3  Mr Green told us . . .
     
    (Mr Green enters on the left)

    Mr Green  Baha’ullah said that Naw-Ruz was associated with the Most Great Name of God and was a festival for those who observed the fast.
     
    Big Brother (to Big Sister)  That’s when . . .
     
    Big Sister  I know! A fast is when you don’t eat any food.
     
    Big Brother  Would be difficult for you!
     
    Big Sister  Shall we move on!
     
    Mr Green  Abdul-Baha, Baha’ullah’s son, explained that Naw-Ruz is to celebrate the spiritual springtime and the bringing of new life. (Steps back and freezes)
     
    Mum  It really does sound like a lovely festival.
     
    Gran  And what do they do at these festivals?
     
    Child 1  There’s prayer, music and dancing.
     
    Child 2  And as those who observe the holy festival have been fasting all day, in the evening there’s a huge dinner.
     
    Dad  Sounds good to me!
     
    Mum  Well, I’m very glad that you’ve learned something about the festival.
     
    Dad
      Me, too. You kids are turning out all right!
     
    Mum
      And you’ll be even better when you all help me celebrate the coming of spring with some feather dusters, a Hoover and Mr Muscle.
     
    Children  Oh, Mum!
     
    Child 2  I think I definitely prefer to celebrate Naw-Ruz in the Baha’i way.

Time for reflection

Spend some time thinking about the joy and the wonder of spring – the new life we see all around us.

Prayer
Lord God,
help us to learn about other religious ceremonies, festivals and celebrations
so we can appreciate the wonders of your world.
Amen.

Song/music

‘Think of a world without any flowers’ (Come and Praise, 17)

Publication date: March 2013   (Vol.15 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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