Ramadan and some tips for getting the kids crafting this Eid!
Having lived for a total of 14 years in Dubai, I’ve come to love everything that Ramadan symbolises – compassion, charity, hope, love and peace, amongst many other things. But if this is your first year living in a Muslim country you may be wondering what it is all about.
Here’s a handy guide of some things I’ve learnt along the way and hopefully they will help you and your family enjoy this peaceful time as much as I do. Plus, we’ve listed some fun Ramadan-inspired activities to do at home with the kids!
What is Ramadan and why is it celebrated?
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and the start and end date depend on the sighting of the new crescent moon. Every year the start date gets 11 days earlier and countries around the world can even start and end their Ramadan on different days depending on the moon sighting in their region. The main focus during Ramadan is fasting during the daylight hours, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. During this special month people also pay particular attention to worship, self-reflection, charity and generosity.
Why do people fast?
Throughout the month of Ramadan Muslims must not eat or drink anything during the day and can only break their fast after the sun sets in the evening. Most people break their fast with dates, as these are the best way to slowly re-stabilise your blood sugar, giving you just the right amount of energy to kick start your metabolism.
What is Eid Al Fitr?
At the end of Ramadan Eid al Fitr takes place, where families get together to celebrate the end of the month and rejoice in everything they’ve learnt. They also exchange gifts with each other. Similar to our Christmas back home, Eid is all about family, friends, food and giving.
Family-friendly Eid activities
This year the Ramadan and Eid celebrations are quite different due to the current Covid 19 restrictions and social distancing regulations. But that doesn’t mean your Eid has to be any less exciting! Why not get the kids involved in decorating the house by crafting your own ornaments to hang or get cooking on some delicious desserts together?
Another great way to involve the kids is by baking Eid desserts, such as Date Cookies, all together. Use cookie cutters in the shape of moon crescents to add an Eid touch to the baking. Here’s a fabulous recipe we have tried in the past. Why not try them at home and send us your finished pictures!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup butter at room temperature
- 1 cup cane sugar
- ½ cup of packed light brown sugar
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 ½ cups roughly chopped pecanstoasted
- 1 ½ cups chopped pitted dates
1) Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2) In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
3) In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until well combined, about 2 minutes.
4) Add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until the flour is well incorporated. Stir in the pecans and dates.
5) If time permits, cover the dough with plastic and chill for 2 hours or overnight. This allows the cookies to be thicker more chewy.
6) Scoop the chilled dough using a cookie scoop onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. It should make about 48 cookies
7) Bake 8-11 minutes, or until golden brown and cookie is puffed.
8) Cool for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
I also stumbled across these delicious recipes that are perfect for Eid desserts. In fact, my mouth started watering just reading about them!
Ramadan arts and crafts
In the past we have made salt sough decorations with the kids which are super easy to do and you can paint and decorate them however you like. Use cutters in the shape of moons, stars or Arabic lanterns to give them a special Ramadan touch and hang your decorations around the house to add some magic to your home.
Here are four of our favourite arts and crafts activities to do with the kids this Ramadan:
· Create Ramadan-inspired sun catchers
· Make your own pair of Moon Sighting Binoculars
· Ignite the spirit of generosity by creating a Good Deed’s Tree
· Make Eid star necklaces – something that will also make a lovely Eid gift!
Plan your Eid gifts
It is traditional to give gifts to one another over Eid, and while it’s not possible to be going around and handing out gifts to your friends and family at the moment, it is still possible to send them something to show you care. Here’s a list of some of our favourite and, more importantly, homegrown businesses to order from online and have gifts delivered on your behalf.
- Vays Kingdom for gorgeous kidswear
- Eggs N Soldiers for eco-friendly for little ones
- Florette for stunning bouquets of flowers
- Booktopia for a great selection of kids’ (and adult) books
- Tribe for gorgeous home décor
- Me & Riley Events, a kids-focused events company, they have some fab Eid party kits
- Master Elliott for luxury cotton lounge and nightwear sets
- Baby Mona for eco-friendly kids’ toys, gifts and interiors.
- Why not also consider sending vouchers for your local spa, nail salon or hairdressers? We'll all be heading there as soon as we can and you can do your bit to support a small business by buying vouchers now too.
How are you spending your time this Ramadan? Are you doing any Ramadan-focused arts and crafts with the kids? We would love to hear from you!