Exploring Ramadan

We are participating in the Multicultural Kid Blogs Ramadan for Kids Series. This is our post for the series. As a Christian family, we do not know much about Ramadan except that it lasts a month and includes fasting. So our first step was to find out more about the holiday. We started with a DVD from the Holidays for Children series called Ramadan.

It is an older video we found at our library. It explains the holiday and some of the why for the holiday. It also shared a craft that was similar to the craft on In the Playroom: Watercoulour Mosque Silohouette Pictures. So we did not do this one. Next we read some books from the library.

Fasting and Dates by Jonny Zucker and Jan Barger tells about Ramadan through the story of a family. The narrator is a young girl who talks about her family fasting, but she is not old enough to join in the fast. This book gives the details about Ramadan. The Muslims remember how Mohammed received the words of the Qur'an in the ninth month of the year while fasting. The first food he ate after his fast was dates, so they are often used to break the fast. 

Ramadan by Julie Murray gives the details of the holiday as well. It discusses the Muslim calendar being lunar and how the time of the year for Ramadan changes because of the lunar calendar. It also goes through the history of Ramadan and how many Muslims read the entire Qur'an during Ramadan each year. 

Id-ul-Fitr by Rosalind Kerven talks about Ramadan and Id-ul-Fitr, the festival that occurs at the end of Ramadan. This book is written for older children so it goes into more details about the history as well as waiting for the new moon. 

Upon reading these books and watching the DVD, we saw that prayer, fasting, dates, being kind, giving to charity and the moon all play roles in Ramadan. Hazel and I talked about what we could do to "celebrate" Ramadan. She talked about giving money to charity and being kind. We talked about trying dates. Then we talked about the phases of the moon and how their calendar works. In the end we focused on the phases of the moon this year.

I made a sheet of the eight phases of the moon and printed them out for Hazel to color. (You can print it from the link above.) We cut out the moons and punched holes into them. I tied threads to them and attached them to two pipe cleaners put together in a circle. Each cycle of the moon represents one month in the Muslim calendar. Usually this is about 30 days, but it can be more or less.

 Muslims all over the world watch for the new moon during Ramadan, so they know the next day will begin Id-ul-Fitr. Often families that are in different time zones will call each other to tell them when the new moon has appeared.

To learn a little more about Islam for myself I purchased a copy of Meeting Islam: A Guide for Christians by George Dardess. I have not finished reading it due the busy month or so we have been having, but the first few chapters have been very interesting!

For more posts exploring Islam and other Ramadan ideas check out: