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Ramadan is April 12 to May 12 this year and an important holiday for our Muslim friends. Take time to introduce your kids to the special month long celebration with these easy at-home activities.
We asked our friends at the Wayne State College of Education Center for Health and Community Impact to share facts about Ramadan to help US better understand the celebration and here are 5 things you should know.
- Ramadan is the 9th month in the lunar (moon) calendar. The beginning of Ramadan can move as many as 10 or 11 days each year. It begins with the sighting of the new moon and ends with another crescent new moon.
- Muslims fast from sunset to sundown for a month. They break their daily fast with an evening meal after sunset called “Iftar”. People break their fast with dates and water. After the evening meal, it is family time fun!
- Ramadan reminds Muslims to have compassion for those who are underprivileged and have a more difficult time getting food for themselves. During Ramadan, Muslims are required to give to charity.
- After the end of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr [eed ul fit-ur], the Festival of Breaking the Fast. During the festival, everyone wears their best clothes, give gifts, visit mosques, and spend time with their family during this day.
- An appropriate greeting for good wishes is “Ramadan Mubarak” which means “Have a blessed Ramadan.”
Ramadan Children’s Books
Spend family time reading a new book about Ramadan and discuss what new things you learn about the holiday.
- Tell Me More About Ramadan by Bachar Karroum
- It’s Ramadan, Curious George by H. A. Rey
- Ramadan (Celebrate The World) by Hannah Eliot
- Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story by Reem Faruqi
- Under the Ramadan Moon by Sylvia Whitman
- My First Ramadan by Karen Katz
During Ramadan, people break their fast with dates and water. Here is a simple date recipe you can make with kids at home – it’s the perfect healthy sugar snack.
- Cream Cheese
- Nuts (pick and choose your favorite nut toppings! You can use walnuts, almonds, pecans, peanuts, pistachios, cashews)
If dates are not pitted, halve the dates and remove the seed. Mix cream cheese and honey until blended. Spoon into a resealable plastic bag. Cut a small piece off one bottom corner of the bag. Use it to pipe cream cheese mixture into dates. Top with nuts, pressing gently into cream cheese mixture, and enjoy!
Moon Sighting Binoculars
Since the beginning of Ramadan and Eid is decided based on moon sightings, why not have some fun and look at how the moon’s phases change every day? These moon sighting binoculars are perfect for the task!
- 2 cardboard tubes (you can use toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls)
- Coloring supplies – crayons, markers, stickers
Decorate the paper rolls. Punch holes on both sides of the tube, then stick them together with glue. Finally, thread the string through the holes and bring them outside.
Lanterns For Eid, people decorate their homes with paper lanterns as Ramadan ends. You can create your own paper lantern at home!
- Construction or card paper
- Coloring utensils (markers, paint, crayons, colored pencils-it all works!)
- Tape or glue
Start by drawing a design on your paper. Consider designing repeating patterns, geometric designs, crescent moon, and stars. Fold the paper in half, long side to long side. Then use some scissors to make cuts all along the folded length. Don’t cut right the way across, or your lantern will fall apart – just cut half to two-thirds of the way to the other side. Finally, open up your card and roll it so the two longer sides meet to form your lantern shape. Fasten your lantern in place using some sticky tape. The cuts you made will open out to give you a great lantern design. Use an extra piece of card/paper to make a handle for your lantern and attach it with some sticky tape.
Thanks to the Wayne State University Center for Health & Community Impact for providing content for this article. Learn more about their work in the community by following them on Facebook and Twitter.
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About Carrie Budzinski
Carrie Budzinski is the Vice President of LittleGuide Detroit. She grew up in Livonia and Detroit and continues to live life in both cities. Carrie loves exploring the city and finding hidden gems in the suburbs..