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Islam’s holy month of fasting, Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and marks the time when the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
While the month is popularly associated with fasting from dawn ‘til dusk—a spiritually rewarding, if arduous practice—it’s only one facet of Ramadan, which is actually many Muslims’ favorite month.
Because Ramadan is tied to the lunar calendar, its exact date varies from year to year. What remains the same, however, is the excitement that Muslims around the world launch into the month with—particularly Muslim parents who can’t wait to create and share traditions with their children.
Community, tradition, and celebration are all a large part of the sacred month, with families gathering for the early morning meal, known as Suhoor, and the post-sunset meal, known as Iftar, to break their fasts together. And, of course, there are few days more exciting than the Eid-al-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan, a time of new clothes, gifts, and delicious food with family and friends.
We spoke with Muslim parents to scope out ideas for their favorite ways to make the holiday even more special for their families. Here are nine ways to celebrate Ramadan with your kids.
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1. Make Ramadan decorations
As a Muslim and mother of two children too young to fully understand Ramadan’s significance, one of my favorite parts of the holiday is decorating our place to make it feel extra special for them. It’s common to decorate your home with stars and crescent moons during the holy month.
Yasmine Elashmawy, a mom of three in Ridgewood, New Jersey, has spent years gathering her decorations. “I bought stuff over the years: everything from crescent moons and stars to lanterns and lights. We light our lights every night at Maghrib prayer and have an advent calendar. Each night one of the kids opens the advent box to reveal a treat and Islamic tidbit that we discuss at our Iftar dinner.”
Razeena Omar Gutta also collects different pieces over the years. “We bring them all out and do it differently every year,” she shares. “We try to decorate the Iftar table a bit more than for a usual dinner. We pour zam zam in cute glasses for everyone to break their fast with.”
If your kids are the crafty type, rope them into the action by letting them arrange the decorations and lights, or by tasking them with creating paper chains to display. Or try one of the many beautiful artisan decorations on Etsy, such as hanging moon and stars lights.
2. Matching Ramadan pajamas
For Aya Khalil, a mother of three and author of The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story, Ramadan traditions are particularly meaningful: she has a forthcoming children’s picture book called The Night Before Eid dedicated to special traditions for the holiday.
Among the many traditions her family enjoys—including Rice Krispy treats, sending cookies to neighbors and friends, and encouraging charity—they each wear special pajamas for Ramadan. “We do new matching Ramadan PJs every year! One for each kid,” Khalil says. “It gets them really excited and they open their Ramadan basket the night before Ramadan begins, which consists usually of Ramadan PJs, a book, and a treat like Ramadan shaped Rice Krispies.”
3. Read books by Muslim authors
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