For the past week, I’ve been planning to write about how we are celebrating Ayyám-i-Há this year. But I’ve been too busy celebrating Ayyám-i-Há to finish the post. Vicious circle.
Ayyám-i-Há is technically over, but I thought I’d still share a bit about what we did. Briefly, Ayyám-i-Há (pronounced ah-YAH-mee-ha or a-YAH-ma-ha, depending how much of a Persian accent you have) is a Bahá’í festival of hospitality, fellowship, goodwill, charity, and gift-giving. It’s usually four days (Feb 26 – Mar 1), but with leap year this year it was five. All families celebrate a bit differently, but there are usually parties, gatherings, gift-giving, and service projects involved.
We like to get all festive and decorate our house for Ayyám-i-Há. Here’s a bit of our decor this year:
I made this wreath a couple of years ago. Super easy – wooden circle, wooden hands, wooden hearts from the craft store, painted them all, hot glued them together. Voila!
Our Ayyám-i-Há hearth. Nothing symbolic here, really. The eggs each held a quote that we read before opening gifts each morning.
More decor. An Ayyám-i-Há tree of sorts. 🙂
In our family, we give the kids a gift each day. So the things hanging above the mantle with our names on them are where we hide the clues to where the gifts are hidden each day. It sounded great in theory when I made them last year, but I realized after actually using them that we just hide and open one gift per person each day, so having pockets for all five days isn’t really necessary. And the adults usually just get one bigger gift (Kindle Fire! Woohoo!), not one each day. Next year I think we’ll just hide the clue in the middle pocket each day and put some small treat in each of the other pockets. It’s a constantly tweaking process.
More decor. This is just a canvas covered in decorative paper and ribbon. I used letter stickers for the words. Super simple, but festive, no? I love paper.
These are super duper easy to make. Just fold a 12″ x 12″ piece of scrapbook paper accordion style, then unfold half of it and tape those sides together. It takes all of one minute, if that. And they look really cute lined up along the top of a window. Like fancy bunting. (Is that the right word? Bunting? Close enough.)
These are super easy, too, though we didn’t make a bunch like I’d planned this year. I got the idea from a Family Fun snowflake craft and just used patterned paper instead of white. These are great for any occasion, especially since you can choose paper to match whatever theme you’ve got going.
We also attended several parties. Loads of fun. The first one included rock climbing, a gym with all kinds of equipment, a magic show, and Dance Dance Revolution.
Have I ever told you how much I love DDR? I sprained my foot doing it once, and still continued until the pain got too unbearable. So. Much. Fun. I was in charge of games at the party, so I didn’t get much DDR time, but I did manage to sneak in one battle against an 11-year-old. I’m pretty sure I totally dominated. At least, that’s the story I’m sticking to.
The magic show was put on by a dear friend, Morris Taylor. He’s fantastic. Extremely entertaining and really impressive magic tricks.
The day after that party, we attended two more parties. The first one was a Bahá’í House of Worship gingerbread building/decorating party. We’d been saving our leftover Halloween candy for this purpose since, well, Halloween. So happy to finally put it to good use.
Real Bahá’í houses of worship always have nine sides, and always have gardens. So a sweet friend-of-a-friend, who isn’t even a Bahá’í, graciously offered to plan, cut, bake, and instruct us in the construction of these amazing gingerbread feats. I think there were five or six families, with one house per family – that was a HUGE amount of cutting and baking. Bless her heart.
Ours turned out pretty spiffy. Each of the kids got to decorate three “gardens,” since we have three kids and there are nine gardens. (We homeschoolers are excellent at math.) BoyWonder and I made one “garden” with a Reese’s PB cup “fountain” and another one with melted lime Now ‘n’ Later “grass” and strawberry Nerds “flowers.” (And by “BoyWonder and I” I really mean “I, while BoyWonder snuck more candy into his mouth.”) So. Much. Fun.
Then, after we were all partied out over the weekend, we took the next couple of days and baked cookies and distributed them to the local police and fire departments, as well as to our neighbors.
BoyWonder got these Superman pajamas on the second day of Ayyám-i-Há. He kept running around the house with his hands in the air shouting “Superman!” Then he’d go around and shake everyone’s hand. I don’t know where he gets this stuff. He’s never actually seen Superman in any form, as far as I know.
Finally, we gathered supplies to take to the local homeless shelter. Each kid chose something from the shelter’s wish list to pick out at the store, which was a small thing, but so nice for them to do something concrete to help people less fortunate than they are.
So, great Ayyám-i-Há this year. Immediately following Ayyám-i-Há we have a 19-day fasting period, which I will write more about soon. It’s my first time fasting in years, due to pregnancies and nursing babies/toddlers, so it’s going to be a grand spiritual adventure.
More on that over the weekend. 🙂