Baha’is see the young as the most precious treasure a community can possess. In them are the promise and guarantee of the future. Yet, in order for this promise to be realised, children need to receive spiritual nourishment, such as can be found in the children’s classes happening all around the world.
Ayyam-i-Ha is a Baha’i festival that is joyously celebrated in countries and territories all over the world. It is a time of hospitality, generosity, and caring for the needy. It typically falls around the end of February and beginning of March and it is either four or five days long.
New Children’s Books About Ayyam-i-Ha by Elaheh Bos
I have never personally met Elaheh Bos but I am so grateful for the materials and resources she creates and produces for children. Her latest: a story book, During Ayyam-i-Ha: How We Celebrate, and an activity book, Ayyam-i-Ha Crafts. (Not sure what Ayyam-i-Ha is? Here’s a Baha’i Blog article called “An Introduction to Ayyam-i-Ha” that might help!)
With the multiple-day Baha’i festival just around the corner, I am thrilled Elaheh was able to share a little bit about her new books. Here’s what she said:
Baha’i Blog: Could you please tell us about these wonderful recourses?
While technically there are two books that recently came out, in my mind, they are both part of the same sentence.
Ayyam-i-Ha Crafts was my answer to a question I had been receiving repeatedly over the last couple of years. Every December and January, I would receive emails asking if I had any Ayyam-i-Ha crafts ready to go.
I am NEVER ready for Ayyam-i-Ha and it delights me that some parents are already thinking about it months in advance. Somehow this time around, the questions really hit home. I started rummaging through my files and found years of crafts I had developed for our children’s classes, conferences, and other events. It then became a question of turning all of these into a format that could be shared.
I kept adding more and more crafts to the point where I knew that if I didn’t stop myself, this book would end up living on my computer like so many others. Rather than creating digital files, I wanted to go back to some of the simplicity of having an actual book of crafts that you look at, plan for, and use directly or photocopy. I love the idea that we have to slow down a little and take a moment to plan which crafts will help us celebrate this beautiful festival.
During Ayyam-i-Ha came after and started as a very different book. I wanted to create something that parents could give out as a gift, but it didn’t seem to come together. Then I went back to reading what Ayyam-i-Ha was really about:
“It behoveth the people of Baha, throughout these days, to provide good cheer for themselves, their kindred and, beyond them, the poor and needy, and with joy and exultation to hail and glorify their Lord, to sing His praise and magnify His Name; and when they end—these days of giving that precede the season of restraint—let them enter upon the Fast.” – Baha’u’llah
After I read that, it was clear that the book had to be about sharing Ayyam-i-Ha itself. The guidance is so beautiful and precise. I hoped to share the spirit of celebration and childish joy that bubbles inside me when I think of Ayyam-i-Ha. The moment I started re-writing and re-working the book, everything came into place. I wanted the book to feel like a little gem, filled with colours and beautiful children. Something that felt like a gift. This book has a simplicity to it because it is designed to be shared and read in schools and with young children. Parents have responded so beautifully by purchasing multiple copies with the goal of gifting them to friends and teachers.
Baha’i Blog: What inspired you to create them?
There is something extremely magical about a book. A book is a friend, a proof that you are not alone, a community. A book ties you to something much bigger than yourself. I feel very passionate about the importance of creating books that not only share the Baha’i principles but also show a glimpse of how Baha’is try to apply those principles and teachings. There are so many parents reaching out and sharing what they believe in and how they celebrate, and I want to contribute to that process in any small way I can.
Baha’i Blog: What is your target audience, and can you please tell us about any translations or other books that are in the works?
While these books can be used for a variety of ages, they are aimed at children under the age of 10, and especially within the range of 3-8. During Ayyam-i-Ha has been translated in French, and I hope to have the rest of the books available in French and hopefully in Spanish as well by next year.
I am working on many, many, different projects including a series of prayers and books for children. They are currently only residing on my computer, but I so look forward to sharing them when they come to life.
Baha’i Blog: How will you be celebrating Ayyam-i-Ha this year?
We will be having three celebrations for Ayyam-i-Ha and I am very excited!
Our first celebration will be at our house where we will be hosting one children’s class and two junior youth groups. The children and youth have been encouraged to invite their friends as well, so I have no idea where we will place everyone yet. There will be pizza, cake, deserts, treats and lots of games. Rather than exchanging gifts, we have asked everyone to bring a small treat that we will put in one basket and everyone will get something in the end. We will be consulting this week on how to incorporate the service element in our party and are still working on the details…
Our second celebration will be with our family only and we will be taking my daughters and their grandparents for all-you-can-eat sushi.
Our third celebration has been organized by the community and we will be ice skating. There will be food and desserts.
Whatever you plan to do, it’s just nice to take a moment to acknowledge this special time and do something that feels joyful. From my family to yours, I wish you a wonderful Ayyam-i-Ha!
Baha’i Blog: Thank you so very much, Elaheh. Happy and joyous Ayyam-i-Ha!
If you are interested in purchasing copies of Elaheh’s latests books you’ll find During Ayyam-i-Hahere on Amazon, its French translation here on Amazon, and Ayyam-i-Ha Craftshere on Amazon. For more information about Elaheh and some of her other fantastic projects and products, visit plantlovegrow.com
In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.