As an expat I’ve always felt something was missing during Ramadan and Eid and it’s not surprising since I live so faraway from home where all my family and friends are who collectively bring meaning to religious holidays.
I want our little girl to experience the overwhelming feeling of welcoming Ramadan and Eid each year and make extraordinary memories as she grows up as an expat.
So, apart from everything else we would naturally do in the holy month, I want to add some traditions to make it more special for my little girl and as as an expat family. I know it might sound so extreme for anyone back home but when you’re so faraway from family you need to start your own traditions to get yourself excited.
Here are a list of things we’re starting this Ramadan and Eid for our little girl:
1. Go moon sighting. Now growing up the ladies in the family didn’t go moon sighting. We waited patiently at home for our fathers to tell us the start of Ramadan and Eid. I’d love to start this tradition in our family as I feel it’s a special way to welcome the month and bond as a family.
2. Decorating the house. This one is going to be new for me too as we actually didn’t decorate our home during this time. So I am quite excited to deck the hallways, walls and mantels with everything star and moon shaped. I would also like to put up reminders of good values and how we should be behaving as Muslims.
3. A Ramadan Family Picture. Last year we took an Eid picture but this year I want to make more of an effort to make it an event. Dress us up in tradition clothes and take a really lovely family picture.
4. Bake Cakes And Deliver It To People. The idea is that your neighbours will have something nice to break their fast with. Growing up this was my most favourite thing to do and it would annoy my parents so much. There was no skipping this tradition with me around. However, since becoming an expat I’ve never done and I think it’s about time that changes.
5. Plan Ramadan Themed Activities. We didn’t have any structured activities during Ramadan besides going to Islamic classes after school. With a young child I know I will need to keep her busy. I believe with the addition of fun Ramadan activities at home it will foster a great love and understanding for the holy month for years to come.
6. Invite Family And Friends Over For Iftar. I’ve never hosted any Ramadan dinners and even if it’s just a small get together I’d be so grateful to have just done one. It is a blessing to feed a fasting person. So besides enjoying a meal with other people, you are also performing an act of good will.
7. Take Part In Garangao. It is a traditional children’s party celebration after iftar on the 14th night of Ramadan in the Gulf. It’s like a mix of trick or treating and carol singing. The tradition back home is usually “boeber” which is a warm milky drink made to celebrate when half of the fasting month is over. I am excited to dress our little girl, learn some local songs and enjoy the festivities.
8. Eid Presents. Now growing up we didn’t get wrapped up gifts. On the morning of Eid we would wake up to money left in our shoes by “angels” who came while we were asleep. I will still be doing this for our little girl but with the addition of an Eid Present gift bag. Eid is such an auspicious occasion and deserves to be celebrated and enjoyed.
9. Eid Prayer. I’ve never been to an Eid prayer. Like sighting of the moon, the men in our family only went and would join us for an Eid breakfast after. I would like to attend the Eid Prayer as a family if possible. If a toddler I don’t know how practical it’ll be but I’d love to give it a chance because as she grows it’ll get easier.
10. Have A Charity Jar. Giving charity is one of the 5 pillars of Islam which simply means it’s very important for Muslims to do. Islamically whatever your due to pay in Ramadan will be calculated and paid as usual but with the money we collect during the money in our charity jar this will be donated to a good cause eg. Our favourite charity. I think that is is a very good way to teach young children the importance of charity and giving.
How do you celebrate Ramadan and Eid with your family? Do you part take in any of these traditions already?
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