So one of the exciting things about being members of a newer world religion that doesn't have ritual is getting to make up new family traditions!
For instance, for Ayyám-i-Há (the Bahá'í Intercalary Days), we have the Ayyám-i-Há Ferret and his sidekick the Ayyám-i-Há Llama (pronounced with the Spanish "ll," which is a "y" sound). The Llama rides the Ferret (it's an issue of size - our stuffed ferret is huge and our llama tiny in comparison) and spreads Ayyám-i-Há joy, sometimes making cameo appearances throughout the year. The llama doesn't speak, but the ferret's got a British accent. Cool.We had done this for a few years already, but never had much going on for Ridván, which is one of my favorite festivals - it lasts twelve days, from April 21 through May 2, and includes three Holy Days, where work is suspended. This festival marks the anniversary of when Bahá'u'lláh publicly declared His mission, and so released spiritual regenerating forces into the world, much like a Divine Springtime. Plus, He shared this message in a garden outside of Baghdad, which He called Ridván (paradise), so the entire history is rife with singing birds and roses and good smells and all of those wonderful things that accompany a garden! So since Olivia is getting older, I thought that I'd better get crackin' and figure out some sort of family tradition for this festival. I asked around, and fused a few ideas together to come up with the Ridván tree, a collection of dead branches which live in a vase. Sounds spectacular, right? Well, lacking our own earth and therefore our own trees, and not wanting to molest other people's shrubbery, we got what we could.But to make up for the lack of blooming, which is going on like crazy around here, we decided to decorate our tree with our own flavor. Each day Olivia picks a different-colored paper crane to add to the tree. In addition, we pick a family virtue to reflect/work on during the day. So far, we've worked on Joyfulness, Patience, Perception, Courtesy, and Radiance (as in radiant acquiescence). It's really helped me a mom throughout the day in being more focused and less stressed! Awesome!