When I was a little girl living in Pakistan many years ago, I loved to see entire cities light up when Ramadan came around. People would rush to the street vendors a few minutes before sunset to grab samosas and jalebis for iftaar, families would send food to each other every day, and as the month came to an end, colourful bangles, bedazzled clothes and henna cones could be found on every corner of every street in preparation for Eid.
I always knew that all this festivity was secondary to the true spirit of Ramadan, which is of course achieving closeness to Allah through the act of fasting, but I loved the atmosphere nonetheless. For most of us living in countries where Islam is not the majority religion, practicing our faith usually becomes a private affair. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but that sense of communal festivity and celebration can sometimes be lost.
Ramadan is a blessing that God bestows upon us every year. Thirty days to come closer to Him, thirty days to engage in productive actions and conversations, thirty days to seek forgiveness for all the mistakes we made during the rest of the year and to be granted that forgiveness. If these aren’t things to be celebrated, then I don’t know what is!
Decorate your House
There are lots of creative DIYs you can do to make your house look and feel a little more special this Ramadan.
Light up the house
Simple fairy lights will do!
Try making this bangle wreath with a bunch of bangles and a ribbon.
(via Hello Holy Days)
Or, go for a traditional wreath that you can hang on your door.
You can find loads of templates of all types of letters online (which you can put together to spell out Ramadan Mubarak/ Ramadan Kareem/ Happy Ramadan, etc.)
(via Sweet Fajr)
You can also make a garland using shapes like the star and the moon or lanterns with any material or fabric you want – get creative!
(via Hello Holy Days)
Ornaments and reminders
You can always find little candles or lanterns to place around the house.
You can also print off different Quran’ic verses and reminders, frame them, and place them around the house to encourage everyone in the family to strive harder this Ramadan.
(via In My Studio)
My personal favorite is this free template of “Today’s Iftaar time is…” that you can frame and hang in the kitchen.
Do Fun Activities with Kids
It’s really important to foster a special kind of love for Ramadan in kids, whether they be your own kids or younger siblings or even cousins, so that they eagerly look forward to this month every year and want to participate in all its activities.
30 good deeds for 30 days
There are various ways to organize this but one way is to get a jar and fill it up with 30 good deeds. The kids can pull out one good deed each day!
30 treats for 30 days
Each night after Iftaar, reward the kids with treats that they select. There are multiple ways to store the treats, such as in these balloons that they can pop at the end of each day. These treats can also be rewards for whatever good deed they did that day.
Crafts, coloring and other activities
You can have the kids color various Ramadan templates (like this one) or make different crafts like cut-out lanterns or mosques. Dozens of ideas for these kinds of crafts are a simple google search away!
Share Ramadan with others
Ramadan is an excellent time to earn more of Allah’s pleasure by doing good to the people around you and to spread kindness. It’s the perfect opportunity to share a thing or two about Islam with your non-Muslim neighbors, teachers, or co-workers.
Introduce non-Muslim neighbors to Ramadan
At the beginning of Ramadan send your neighbors some sort of gifts or treats (like dates or chocolates) in celebration of Ramadan and let them know what this month will entail for you and your family. This may also be your chance to better get to know your neighbors and for them to get to know a Muslim (which is obviously a good thing considering how much negative attention Muslims constantly receive)
Here is an example of an informative and friendly note that you can print out and attach to the gift.
The free printable is available for download here.
Give date jars to teachers and co-workers
Let your own teachers, your kids’ teachers or your co-workers know that Ramadan has started and that you will be taking part in certain religious activities like fasting by giving them a small gift. Nobody will say no to a big jar of healthy and delicious dates!
Celebrate with friends and family
Of course, send gifts and greeting cards to Muslim friends and family and celebrate this joyous month with them!
(via Hello Holy Days)
InshaAllah (God willing) these ideas help you enjoy the month of Ramadan even more. Remember to not allow all of this to distract you from actually worshipping God and working hard to improve your character this Ramadan! However, these little celebrations should enable you to further surround yourself with the spirit of Ramadan and benefit more from this month.
Comment below if you have any of your own ideas for encouraging festivities during Ramadan!
Elissa Capelle Vaughn