Why does my holiday need to look the same as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, or Easter? We only get to celebrate two days all year long, and what do we do? Go get a crescent moon tree? I understand that our kids are constantly exposed to and suffocated during the “most wonderful time of the year.” But instead of stealing traditions, why don’t we make up our own? Why can’t we make Ramadan and Eid more enticing? Why don’t we make it something that our non-Muslim friends and families would want to celebrate too?
Imitating other holidays doesn’t create a long-lasting Muslim American identity for us. We know who the first Muslims in the United States were: African Americans. We need to learn how to make navy bean pie!
Muslims are blessed to be from so many different countries and cultures. Of course, that’s also the reason it’s hard for us to create a consistent tradition. Isn’t the moon-sighting war enough? We can’t agree on which day to celebrate our holiday, and we can’t agree on how to celebrate it either. It’s confusing. It’s frustrating. And honestly, I don’t have a solution. I think it’s beautiful that we are all so different, and I embrace it.
However, I do want to suggest one thing. Why don’t we structure Ramadan and Eid so that they become life-changing events for our kids? And I don’t mean giving them lots of décors, candies, or gifts.
While those things make kids happy, we don’t need to redefine our holidays with material things. Our religion is perfect; it enables us to gain self-control. “Not even water, right?”
Here’s how I structure Ramadan and Eid activities for my kids: I look at what days Ramadan will fall on beforehand. Christmas trees go up right after Thanksgiving, almost a month in advance — we can do that too!
I was a little Muslim girl, now a Muslim mom, and I’ve watched so many of my peers leave the religion. All I can think about is how I can keep my children want to keep their deen. How do I make our holidays more enticing than Christmas lights, a Thanksgiving feast, Halloween candy, and Easter egg hunts? I will admit, I’m not super strict — I let my kids take part in the Christmas school play. I believe that we live in this country and that we’re meant to be engaging community members. We’re respectful and kind. But most importantly, we’re Muslims.
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As Muslims, these are our holidays: Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, and Eid-ul-Adha — that’s it! That’s all we’ve got to work with. And these three holidays MUST bring in all the glee and squeals and still retain the spiritual gains.
Here’s how I structure Ramadan and Eid activities for my kids: I look at what days Ramadan will fall on beforehand. Christmas trees go up right after Thanksgiving, almost a month in advance — we can do that too! So, look at the calendar during Sha’ban or earlier and create the time of their lives! We’re all from different cultures, so incorporate it: volunteer opportunities, good deeds, Islamic history, family time, charity, Quran reading. This is the time to refocus on what really matters. So, put it all in there!
Tangible Karma Day
Volunteer at the thrift store
Good Deeds Day
Surprise someone with a good deed
Vitamin C Day
Learn what food has Vitamin C & eat it for iftar
Pick dandelions & use them to make something for iftar
Day of the Engineer
Learn about Muslim engineers in history
Add Quran quotes to gift friends
Draw a Bird Day
Birdwatch & say subhanAllah
Take Parents to the Playground
Have some fun with your kids
Practice Arabic reading & writing together
|April 11 Holy Monday|
Learn about the arrival of Prophet Isa (PBUH) in Bethlehem
Day for Street Children
Donate to help the homeless
Make Lunch Count
Don’t waste food & remind others
Call your grandparents & great-grandmother
Learn how to greet someone in sign language
Learn about the story of Prophet Musa’s (PBUH)
Go to your local nature center & observe bats
Day for Monuments
Learn about the monuments & mosques worldwide
Rice Ball & Garlic Day
Help your parents make iftar
Volunteer at your local greenhouse
Creativity & Innovation
Pick a problem in the world and solve it
Pick up trash in your neighborhood
World Book Day
(Iqra) read all day long
Armenian Genocide Day
Learn about all the communities affected by genocide
Learn about DNA in the Quran
Bus Driver Day
Give a gift to the bus driver
Give a gift to your school administrators
Pay It Forward
Give goody bags to your classmates & teachers
Plant a tree
Arbor Day Foundation gives you seeds
Learn about the life of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)
Recite the 100 names of Allah
Your calendar does not need to look like mine! Change things around, add different ideas. All of our kids are of different ages — you know what they like! Be creative.
And while you’re at it, plan the 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah too. These are the best days of the year, we can’t afford to miss those rewards! Plan them now while you’re on a roll!
Shake hands at the mosque
Wake up for fajr
Make a project with all the steps of Hajj
Go to your local park
Independence from Meat
Eat vegan meals
Remembrance of Allah
Say adhkar while you’re walking or driving
Memorize a new Surah
Forgive someone & give them chocolate
Learn about the dish’s ties to Islamic cultures
EID! What do you do for Eid? I grew up going to morning prayers and then visiting family and friends all day long, feasting on everything and taking pictures with our new outfits on. For my kids, we’ve decided to do a “YES DAY!” I let them pick three things that we have to say yes to (yes, there are restrictions), and they’ve been having a blast!
Do what works for you! Don’t stress about it. You’re allowed to have fun too. This is the holiest time of the year; it’s quiet and peaceful, so make sure you reflect and recharge!
I hope this was helpful. I wish you and your family a very rewarding Ramadan!