Every year, millions of Muslims from around the world go on a journey of self-purification, helping those in need and performing special prayers each night during a holiday called Ramadan. Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam and it is required for all able-bodied individuals to perform a fast and offer late-night prayers. For my family, Ramadan is a wonderful and joyous holiday to be able to spend time with family, friends, and community and to focus on our faith in a deep and meaningful way. I want to share some of my family’s favorite traditions during both Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr that have added to our celebration during this festive time.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the holiest month of the year for Muslims around the world. It’s known as a special month when the Quran (Islamic holy book) was revealed. Each year, the time frame of Ramadan changes. This is due to the Islamic Lunar calendar being different than the traditional Gregorian calendar. Ramadan in the Islamic lunar calendar occurs during the 9th month through moon sightings. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast (abstain from eating and drinking) from sunrise to sunset. Prayer, worship, giving to charity, helping those in need, and gathering as a community are observed during this holy month.
What is Eid Al-Fitr?
Eid Al-Fitr is known as the “festival of breaking the fast.” It’s a joyous holiday that occurs after Ramadan (through moon sighting) and marks the end of fasting. On this joyous day, families dress in new outfits, attend the mosque for a special prayer, and visit with family and friends. Kids receive gifts, desserts, and candy. At times, mosques will host Eid Festivals after prayers with food trucks, bounce houses, and all sorts of fun activities for families.
Celebrate Ramadan and Eid with Kids
Evening of Moon Sighting
Since Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr are scheduled based on moon sightings, why not have some fun and look outside either every night or every week to track the moon’s phases? Grab some binoculars or simply open your eyes and enjoy the evenings looking up at the beautiful sky. Find a book or app to help you spot the different phases of the moon.
Learn through New Books
Each year there are more Ramadan holiday books being published by great authors. As a mother who loves reading to my kids, I look forward to teaching my kids about the importance and meaning of Ramadan through books. If you’re in a city with a great library, check with your local library for new Ramadan and Eid books. Ask your local librarian if they can host a Ramadan story time so that everyone can enjoy learning about this joyous holiday.
Decorate the House
Who doesn’t love decorating their home for the holidays? Dust off those décor bins and get creative. In my family, we enjoy decorating each room with sparkling lights, large and small lanterns, geometric art, and lots of moons and star cutouts. Decorating your home can make everything festive and fun. For Eid, try your hand at a fun balloon garland, streamers around the house, and maybe even a moon or star pinata. Decorate the outside of your home with lights, large lanterns, signs, and inflatables.
Put up a Ramadan Moon
They’ve been all the rage within the Muslim communities. These large Ramadan moons or moon trees are a great way to showcase the start of the holiday. The large moons can be adorned with twinkling lights and gifts for Eid.
Ramadan baskets are another great way to get kids in the spirit of Ramadan. I like adding essential items such a new water bottle for long nights of prayer, a new prayer mat, books, ethnic clothing, or themed pajamas. Include some fun activities such as holiday coloring books, wooden mosque toys, starlight flashlights, and candy to add a fun surprise when kids open their baskets.
My kiddos love their 30-day countdown calendar, it’s a great way to keep track of the days leading up to Eid Al-Fitr. Each day your child gets to see their small surprise or activity. I love adding the element of a random act of kindness or doing a good deed. Today, there are all sorts of countdown calendars. Some can be hung up in your kids’ room, others can be added to the family or dining room.
Getting crafty is a fun way to add personal touches to any holiday. Crafts can be as simple as making paper lanterns decked in sparkly gems. Try painting a mosque using watercolors and canvas or making a phases of the moon calendar with the sunrise and sunset timings to display. If your kiddos are preschool-aged or younger, a Ramadan-themed sensory bin will be a big hit. Fill your bin with colored rice, mini lanterns, and shiny moon and star stickers. Playdough kits are another great idea for kids. Some colorful playdough with glitter or moon and star cutouts will add fun to the kit.
Host a Ramadan Kids’ Day
This is by far one of my boys’ favorite Ramadan activities. Host a kids’ day either at your home or local mosque. Let the kids be the ones to lead the way by reading a Ramadan story to others. They can also set up spaces for breaking the fast and even lead prayers for the evening.
Charity & Good Deeds
Another key element to Ramadan is charity and good deeds. In our family, we love collecting canned goods and distributing them among local food pantries. My kids enjoy placing non-perishable food items in the little food pantries throughout our town. Making goodie bags with essential items to hand out to those less fortunate is a great way for kids to get involved in charity.
Share a Meal
Meals are a big deal during Ramadan, and many families prepare multiple courses for breaking the day-long fast. A great way to celebrate is to share a meal with friends and family by making to-go packages with some of your family’s favorite Ramadan dishes.
Mini Prayer Area
Prayer is important in the Islamic faith and Ramadan tends to have a great prayer time in the mosque that can be long. Young kids may find it hard to be at the mosque each day. Setting up a cozy and kid-friendly prayer area is a great way to get kids in the spirit of prayer all month long. At home, add some comfortable prayer mats, pillows, and soft lighting to make a great prayer space.
My kids love making goodie bags to hand out to family, friends, teachers, and neighbors. Each year for Ramadan, we make goodie bags with an assortment of middle eastern sweets, chocolate-covered dates, Turkish delights, and various nuts. On Eid day, we give goodie bags to friends and family with candy, small toys, and money.
Decorate with Henna
On the last night of Ramadan, a wonderful way to start the celebration of Eid early is to decorate hands with henna art. It can either be from the comfort of your home with a small group of friends or you can host a small henna party where ladies and girls get together to draw beautiful scenes on everyone’s hands.
On Eid day, families celebrate the end of Ramadan with a special prayer. Afterward, a great way to celebrate is to have an Eid festival to bring joy to families. Food trucks, bounce houses, balloon artists, and games are a great way to host an Eid festival.
What kid doesn’t love getting a gift? Having gifts ready on Eid day is one of the simplest ways to show kids how well they did during the 30 days of fasting. Seeing all the pretty gifts wrapped up and waiting to be opened is such a fun way to wake up.