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Ramadan Mubarak! 11 Creative Ways for Families to Celebrate the Holy Month and Eid al-Fitr

Learn more about this holy holiday, craft beautiful handmade gifts, and try mouthwatering traditional recipes.

Sarah Burns

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Islam is the second largest religion in the world, so chances are pretty high that you or someone you know is Muslim. You’ve probably heard of Ramadan, and might even know that it somehow involves fasting, but what’s it really all about? 

Ramadan is considered the most holy month of the year for Muslims because it’s believed to be the month in which the first passages of the Quran – Islam’s sacred text – came to the prophet Mohammed. It’s a joyful celebration intended to celebrate and strengthen one’s connection with God, friends, and family. It’s a time to acknowledge and appreciate what we have, curb negative thoughts, and make a conscious effort to be a more generous and kind person.

Most but not all Muslims observe Ramadan, and because it’s celebrated by so many people all over the world, not all Muslims celebrate the exact same way. But there are some traditions many find essential for the holiday!

When is Ramadan?

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This year, Ramadan is generally accepted as beginning on or around April 1st, and ending around May 1st. Because the celebration follows the cycles of the moon, there is often debate over the exact date each year because many Muslims use the night sky as their guide, and visibility can vary depending on location. Ramadan generally falls about eleven days before whenever it began the previous year.

Daily life during Ramadan isn’t too much different than other months, with most businesses and schools staying open — though some in countries with large Islamic populations, schools and shops operate on reduced hours. The holiday is about adding more devotion to a person’s daily life, so during Ramadan you might go to school and work as usual, but you would start out every morning with a special prayer, and eat your first meal of the day early — usually something filling and protein-packed to provide your body with fuel through the day.

Fasting 101

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For the whole month of Ramadan, it’s customary for Muslims to fast every day from dawn until after sunset — meaning to abstain from eating or drinking anything, even water. The meal right before sunset is called the suhoor, and after sunset they have iftar, the last meal of the day. 

There are a few reasons for this practice. It’s meant to remind people of humanity's dependence on God to provide sustenance, and to help people feel a deeper level of compassion for all those who struggle with food insecurity and lack safe sources of drinking water. The fast also represents a person’s devotion: by sacrificing those moments typically spent consuming, they can now be dedicated to meditating on God, in prayer, or studying the Quran.

But not everyone is required to fast. Children, the elderly, the ill, and people who are pregnant or menstruating are exempt from fasting. And because it can be really difficult to get in the habit of not eating or drinking anything all day, many will make up days they missed, skipped, or accidentally messed up in a moment grabbing a drink while on autopilot. Days can also be made up by providing a meal to a person in need.

The Reading List

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Part of Ramadan is dedicating time to intense study of the Quran, and many people view the month as a holy reading challenge to read, absorb, and meditate on every single passage. Many people around the world recite these special prayers every evening. 

Eid al-Fitr

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At the end of the month comes Eid al-Fitr, a three day festival filled with friends, family, food, and presents. It’s a big, joyous celebration meant to be shared with loved ones, and a chance to indulge in all the foods you’ve longed for all month long!

Handmade for the Holiday

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Ready to celebrate? Wish a friend “Eid kareem!” (“Have a generous Eid!”), and make amazing handmade gifts perfect for the holiday.

Ceramic Hand Dish

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My Poppet

Beautiful, giftable, and fun for all ages, these clay dishes are the perfect size to hold rings, small knick knacks, and look lovely all on their own. Kids who can’t get enough clay play will love trying different tools to stamp shapes into the clay. My Poppet has all the details on what is hands down, a really awesome activity! 

Ramadan and Eid DIY Throw Pillows

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Hello Holy Days

Pretty and practical, these pillows from Hello Holy Days are an easy, no-sew project older kids can do on their own. (Or team up with the littles for applique picking and placement, but handle the gluing yourself!) When someone asks where you bought it, kids light up with the type of pride you only get from giving handmade.

Eid Envelopes

A Ramadan gift doesn’t have to break the bank, and often something small and thoughtful is the best gift, which makes these envelopes the perfect size. Fill ’em with treats, notes of well wishes, tiny toys, or even money! Watch the tutorial by Crafty Things, and then pick out your favorite paper patterns, and try folding some of your own.

Paper Lanterns Ramadan Craft

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Nurture Store

Fanous, or paper lanterns, are a popular way to decorate for Ramadan, and this adorable paper craft is perfect for little kids. This tutorial by NurtureStore uses a simple wax-resist watercolor technique using crayons to create cool painting effects. Hang them as decoration, add them to gifts as present toppers, or make a whole bunch, and gift them as a big strand of garland!

Printable Ramadan Calendar

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Craftionary

Print this calendar, pop it into a favorite frame (maybe one decorated by the kids?), and ta-da! You have a thoughtful gift a loved one can use year after year. Don’t forget to print one out for yourself!

Mouthwatering Morsels

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Islam is practiced all over the world, and individual traditions may vary, but there’s one thing these special-occasion recipes all have in common — they’re delicious! Celebrate Ramadan with favorite foods famous for bringing together friends and family. 

Lokum, a.k.a. Turkish Delights

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Rainy Day Mum

Sweet, gel-like, and traditionally flavored with rosewater, Lokum is a curious confection. It’s kind of like a gumdrop, and while they’re usually flavored with flowers, you can experiment with whatever you’d like: maybe a sweet and spicy cinnamon is more your thing, or get crazy and toss in some turmeric. Try this recipe by Rainy Day Mum for a more traditional take, or add your own twist.

Sheer Khurma

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Tea for Turmeric

Dates are a beloved traditional treat in the Middle East, and were said to have been what the Prophet Mohammed ate when he broke his fast. They’re an excellent source of the fuel bodies need to stay healthy, rich in fiber, and easy to digest – pretty much the perfect food after a prolonged period of fasting. Tea for Tumeric pairs the mighty date with a vermicelli rice pudding for a delicious, decadent dessert that takes about twenty minutes to make. 

Ramadan Yogurt Bark

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Hello Holy Days

Protein packed and high in fiber, this healthy, customizable, delicious treat will appeal to the pickiest of eaters. It’s also just sooo pretty! Look at that pinkish color! Those stars! The adorable crescent moons! Follow this recipe by Hello Holy Days to create this amazing food masterpiece, or try mixing things up with your own fruit favorites.

Maamoul

If you like the melt-in-your-mouth goodness of shortbread cookies, you have to try some maamoul. It’s another treat that usually features the date as its key ingredient, but these cookies are made with all kinds of fillings, and favorites usually vary by location. Serve these up at a group gathering, but you’d better claim your own quick, because there won’t be a crumb left. 

Chicken Biryani

This is an easy chicken dish that’s truly a main event. A favorite with its roots in Pakistan kitchens, Chicken Biryani is a delicious, one-pot meal you’re going to want to add to your repertoire of chicken dishes.  Not one for spice? Use fewer chiles (or leave them out altogether), and top with a yogurt-based sauce before serving.