The month of Ramadan is right around the corner and Muslims all over the world are looking forward to welcoming the month of mercy. In my childhood, we were also excited about this month but we didn’t decorate our homes, as far as I remember. Now as a parent myself, I am excited to do something special so the positivity of Ramadan family traditions stays with us in our memories.
What is Ramadan? Why is it special for us? What is done in this month? These are few of the questions which might be on your minds. So let us start with that before I share with you the things that I am going to do to make it a memorable one in shaa Allah.
The Meaning of Ramadan
Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar and lasts 29-30 days. Ramadan means “scorching” in Arabic and most commonly falls in the summer. This is a special month for Muslims as this was the month Quran was sent to our Prophet Muhammad (a.s). Like any other month in Islam, this month also starts with the sighting of a Hilal (new moon).
In the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. This process continues until we see the new moon of the following month and celebrate Eid.
During this time, we Muslims mainly concentrate on seeking forgiveness from the Almighty and pray to thank the Almighty. This is the month in which we converse with the Almighty the most. People also try to concentrate on good deeds more than usual!
As a parent of a toddler, I try to teach her the importance of Ramadan with activities that she can understand and do with Almighty’s grace. In shaa allah we have plans to proceed with this as we both grow so that my daughter can teach these Ramadan family traditions to her own kids in the future.
Creating Your Family’s Unique Ramadan Traditions
Before I was married, I thought that people all over the world break the fast with dates and kanji (rice porridge specially made during the month of Ramadan) but later came to know that there are different traditions for each family.
As we are in a nuclear family with a 2-year-old toddler, to create the Ramadan feel and the environment this year I started a challenge called #90daystoRamadanproject2019.
Last year when we were fasting, even baby A didn’t eat the whole day till the time we both ate. To prevent this scenario from repeating this year, I came up with an idea. Each day we speak something about the Ramadan/religion/Islam/Arabic to welcome the month of Ramadan. So each year we are planning to go with this challenge in shaa allah! As my daughter grows she will become more interested in this challenge.
As we are in the west now, we have an opportunity to break the fast with the other Muslims in the mosque and after the prayers, we have our dinner and then get an opportunity to pray Taraweeh (night prayers) as a team.
The mosque we go to encourages kids to participate in the Taraweeh prayers and they have a special space to take care of the kids. Women during their menstruation get a concession for not praying, so this helps in taking care of the children. The moms take turns in taking care of the kids. We do some activities with the kids during those prayer times so kids get an opportunity to get closer to each other as well as closer to the Almighty.
How can you create your own family Ramadan traditions? All you have to do is think about what Ramadan means to each member of your family and start there. But if you’re looking for ideas to kickstart and motivate you, keep reading. I have compiled some creative ways that you can make this Ramadan the best one to cherish on in shaa allah.
1. Stay Calm and Stay Away from Social Media
As the month of Ramadan approaches, people get into cleaning mode. I would say keeping the home clean is mandatory but getting tense is not. Looking at all the beautiful pictures on social media might make you upset that you aren’t able to do the same. It’s fine.
All 5 fingers aren’t the same. Let’s do what we can do. Since someone cleans and preps it’s not necessary for you to do it too. Work on what works best for your family. If you feel you aren’t able to control yourself by looking at those beautiful pictures, turn off your social media accounts.
2. Decorate Your Home with Love
Please do make sure that you don’t go overboard with your decorations. Plan it and do it as per your family’s demands.
Please do make sure you use it as an opportunity to create a bonding within your family. It doesn’t need to be social media worthy. It needs to be memory worthy. A moment filled with love, joy, and happiness which can be treasured for long in shaa Allah.
3. Make Your Meals Simple
We usually have our meals before sunrise and only after sunset. So it’s difficult to eat a complete meal while getting adjusted to the new cycle. So planning the meal is important as is keeping the meal suitable for the family’s health. My family meals will be simple and currently, we use the opportunity to go to masjid (mosque) to open the fast so I’ll have to plan my meal accordingly.
4. Plan Family Time During Ramadan
This is very important in our life as this stays in our memories. Even if our child is a toddler at some point in our life she/he will cherish the memories. When I was a kid my mom used to spend at least five minutes to say something about Islam either during the iftiar or while eating the suhoor (pre-dawn) meal. And on the day of Eid, we will speak about the khutbah message (after the Eid prayers; the imam (the one who leads the prayer) speaks/conveys a message) in and out so that the message stays deep within us and we understand the message passed in a clear way.
Now I have planned few activities/games to be done as a family during Ramadan so in shaa allah we will cherish these memories.
5. Read/hear Quran as a Family
Reading more Quran is needed during the month of Ramadan. With the commitments, we have few of us aren’t able to read more Quran during this month so you can hear them whenever possible. Try to hear at least one Ayah (verse) per day.
If you have big kids you can listen to the Quran when commuting, as kids understand about the specialty of Ramadan.
You can even assign one activity per day which is a doable task so that at the end of 30 days you can gift them for sure.
For those of you who want to celebrate or take part in Ramadan celebrations and show your children the different cultures and opportunities to learn, there are many communities that do story time or conduct activities no matter which country you live in. For example. Atlanta children’s museum celebrates a specific day with one part of the community. You can approach a library to check if your library has a story time or any activity for the Ramadan. Muslims all over the world will be more than happy to welcome you and have you take part in their festivities and joy.
When you do visit, say “Ramadan Kareem,” which is a greeting used to say “have a generous or blessed Ramadan” and can be used by anyone wanting to greet a fasting Muslim. Try it!
If you are interested in learning more or getting additional ideas on helping your kids with Ramadan, I’m here for you.