Growing up, I loved seeing how other people celebrated Ramadan, so this year I asked our Muslim Girl writers and editors to share their favorite Ramadan traditions; and for our new converts sisters, I asked what traditions they would like to start. It really brought a smile to my face to read all them all.
Personally, I have several favorite Ramadan traditions. One is definitely my mom waking us up for suhoor and making a delicious and healthy breakfast like eggs and Egyptian “foul” (brown beans). Of course breaking our fast together at night was always something to look forward to as well, especially my mom’s dates with milk and then some dessert like baklava (which I shared here before) or kunafa. Later, we would head to taraweeh with my dad threatening us that he would leave if we were not ready by 7:42 PM sharp (and he would actually leave us behind as we hurriedly tried to find an unwrinkled and clean abaya to wear.)
Now I have created my own traditions with my children like decorating the house and doing Ramadan crafts and activities.
Read below to read other Ramadan traditions from the Muslim Girl Clique!
Eman, Multimedia Editor
My baba making takbeer all the way to the mosque. It’s my favorite tradition! And my mom making the same brunch every single Eid since I was a kid. Ugh, and now being an adult and having to give out Eidi (Eid money).
My mom, sisters and I would listen Surrah-al-Rahman before Iftar. We’d cook our meal together and just sit there enjoying the surrah. Before we eat, we would dua and tell each other what we are grateful for. I am so happy that after I graduate in June inshAllah [God-willing], I’ll be able to spend Ramadan with my family after two years away at university.
We have to cook samosa and soup and have “foul” for iftar everyday for the 30 days. My grandmother used to also make those dates stuffed with cream and fried almonds that were so good a specialty for Ramadan. I remember the smell of oud “bakhoor” before iftar – that was my grandmother’s favorite ritual. The best part for me was hearing taraweeh prayer every night in Jeddah from multiple mosques in the neighborhood or any other place I went to since they used outdoor speakers. I miss that a lot in here in the states.
Hanan, Writer and Spoken Word Artist
We tend to go to the mosque for iftar which is a major relief because it saves cooking time. Also one of my close friends helped me make a Ramadan pocket calendar for my son out of his old baby clothes. I fill it with little gifts, sweets and facts a 4-year-old might be able to grasp about Ramadan. We also plan “sadaqah days” once a week. As a family we go out and try to do as many acts of sadaqah as we can. For example, we left milk and bread on the doors of flats in a high-rise building in a “poor” area and we bought food for homeless people. It’s a nice way to connect as a family and involve my son.
Meriam, Social Media Intern
We go to the mosque for taraweeh at night after iftar or we pray it at home as a family. Around Eid time, we ALWAYS make ma’moul (date cookies) from scratch. Last Eid al-Adha we made over 300 for everyone at my high school to share in the celebration. We buy new outfits and wear them on Eid after going to the mosque for Eid prayer. Then we go out to a restaurant to eat. When I was younger we would go to the mosque in the morning and then go to iHop for Brunch. Next we would go to Toys “R” Us to spend our Eid money and finish the day at a bowling place. To me, Ramadan and Eid are about challenging myself and my spirituality and becoming closer to Allah (SWT) and my family.
Marwa Adina, Writer and Poet
My family’s traditions involve sleeping in as late as possible – but more importantly, going to the mosque everyday for Ramadan together to pray isha.
We also almost always have the same food to break our fast (with the exception of alternating soups) and always invite guests over (usually people without families to break the fast with.) We always try to eat suhoor somewhere outdoors at least once in the month (usually places are closed so we’re lucky to find open ones).
Two years ago we started this thing where we invite a sheikh/imam at least once over to break the fast with us and have him lead maghrib salat in our house. My dad also started this tradition where he started having me and my sisters be “witnesses” to new converts taking their shahada during Ramadan. It’s so beautiful mashAllah. I personally started my own tradition where I try to read the Quran everyday (in hopes to finish it by the end of Ramadan).
I try to make Ramadan and Eid exciting for the kids, but they are having a hard time being excited about not eating all day. They like getting gifts for Eid, usually we go the mosque for prayers and food. Every year we try to incorporate something new like a Ramadan countdown or a game. Making new traditions for converts is hard!
Maysoon, Managing Editor
Traditionally we all get cranky and cry the first three days while yelling at each other, arguing who has the worst headache. After that, we fight over who is doing the cleanup. Then we listen to the boys retell stories that they’ve learned in the past about the Prophet’s days. They always exaggerate and ad-lib. We don’t correct them. One day they’ll make fine parents raising their own kids (inshaAllah.)
On a serious note, this year my daughter and I are starting a new tradition. We ordered The Dua Journal, so we are keeping track of our duas, what we are grateful for, and are keeping record of what we plan on doing to be better Muslims. It’s an amazing method of keeping record of where we are at this point in our lives – and hopefully we can look back on it years from now to compare notes on our spiritual growth. As my sons grow older, I will include them in this tradition. For now, the boys and I spend a few weeks overseas during Ramadan and get to run to the window in hopes of catches a glimpse of the guy who bangs on his drum early in the morning to wake us up for prayer. Last year we only saw the back of him from our balcony once. This year we are hoping to catch him on video.
Ahlam, Writer and Video Blogger
Ramadan is the perfect time for my family as we attempt to try and make new foods. My mom makes bomb samboosa and soup! We also redecorate with some string lights and we move the table to make room for the carpet where we would sometimes break our fast and eat on the floor picnic style.
It’s also the time when we read Qur’an together and go to the mosque more often. Then for Eid, we decorate some more. I’m in charge of presents as the appointed family Eid Santa. My best friends and I plan a gift swap just like anyone would on Christmas. On Eid morning after the prayer, we get breakfast at IHOP. Sometimes on Eid we go to Boston, too.
I don’t have any cool traditions because I didn’t grow up Muslim, but my husband and I kind of started our own. I’ve only been Muslim for 3 Ramadans and the first one we watched the MBC series Umar. It has 30 episodes on YouTube and it helped me to learn a lot of Islamic history that I didn’t get growing up. Plus, I loved Umar’s story so much that I named our first child after him. We also watch The Message every Ramadan.
I make briwat (the almond cookies) using a Moroccan recipe. It takes three days, but I make enough to last us all Ramadan, and then some.
Every Ramadan I always help my mom make atyaif from scratch, which I enjoy so much because it’s such a bonding time for us and something we do only that time of the year. Ramadan is always about getting around the table at Iftar time with family and friends and always having guests over, or being a guest at someone’s house for Iftar, praying taraweeh at least every night, and spending Laylat al Qadr at the mosque.
As my siblings, cousins and I get older, it’s harder to maintain some traditions that we always did when we were younger because everyone has a different schedule now, but it makes me appreciate whenever we are all together.
I also remember my grandmother used to always say the takbeer from the car all the way to the mosque on Eid. Since she’s passed away nearly 2 years ago, we still try to carry that tradition. Lastly, on a funny but all too true note, my family tradition for Eid is ALWAYS making it late to the prayer. I don’t remember the last time we were on time for one.
I’m still trying to create what my Ramadan looks like. I’m the only Muslim in my family and my Muslim significant other lives in another country for now. I miss him every day and it’s difficult to get by, but I believe in Allah’s (SWT) plan for us. So far Ramadan has felt a little lonely, but I use it as a time to become even more entwined in my faith and informed about religious materials.
I don’t yet feel very comfortable with my Muslim community here for a variety of reasons. I’ve always felt more welcomed by my Muslim community overseas. But Inshallah in time things will feel more welcoming here as well. I believe a Muslim is always learning how to become better, and so Ramadan is focused on this for me.
Zaimah, Social Media
It’s kind of a silly tradition, but every Eid after salat my family and I stop at McDonalds for fries and a milkshake/coffee frappe after our visit to the kabristan (cemetery) and snack in the car on our way to a family member’s home for lunch.
Amani, Writer and Cinematic Expert
My family doesn’t have Ramadan traditions – unless you count that my father was negative and weird and hangry every day, but that’s him any day. Also, he would use Ramadan/Eid as an excuse to make us get together with other Muslim families, even if we hated their kids, just because they were the only Muslim families I knew. I never enjoyed Ramadan except for when I was pretty small and it was November. Even then l wasn’t fasting full days. When Ifinally fasted a few full days that November, I remember my mom and Taita (grandmother) made Thanksgiving dinner. Later that month they made atayef and dawalieh. My father had to be pleasant around my Taita or she would yell at him.
Now, I’m the only one fasting. My brothers are atheists, my mom has medical issues, and I don’t live with my dad. But I still try to make atayef and dawalieh at some point, and I try to make it to the mosque for tarawih – which is not easy because I work. The whole month is really hard for me because I’m going it alone, working, managing my diet and mental illness, and trying not to fall apart. InshaAllah when it’s not in summer anymore it will be easier, but it kind of sucks not having a family that participates and feeling like an outlier in the Muslim community here.
What are some of your favorite Ramadan traditions?