Ramadan and Eid Celebration
We would like to share some highlights of classroom celebrations of Ramadan and Eid over the past month.
In Nursery, the children watched a little puppet show based on conversations with families from the class about their Ramadan and Eid home traditions. At the end of Ramadan the class celebrated Eid by dressing up and having a special tea party of Halva (a traditional dish of warm semolina, saffron and almonds), and honey and peppermint tea which the children picked themselves.
In First Grade children shared many ideas for how they can perform acts of service, such as providing water dishes for honey bees, collecting litter on the street, and bringing warm clothing and food to local homeless shelters. “The idea of service for the school came from the children, so we collected as many brooms as we could find and spent a chunk of Main Lesson sweeping and cleaning around the school.” First Grade then celebrated Eid al Fitr in a circle, sharing gratitude and ending with a sweet treat of dates. The children said they are grateful for “being able to come to school,” for “the food we are about to eat,” for “being able to spend more time with Dad,” for “friends and family”…. the gratitude went on and on!
Here is the story brought to the Nursery children –
Once upon a time, not very long ago and not very far away there was a little brother and sister. One sunshiny spring day they skipped into the garden over the stepping stones. Much to their delight they found auntie and uncle, here for a special visit, sitting under the pomegranate tree! Auntie and uncle scooped the children up in their arms and gave them warm hugs.
Auntie and uncle said to the children, “tonight is a special night! We will go and look for the crescent moon. If we see it, we will know that Ramadan has begun!”
That evening the whole family put on their warm coats and hats, and staying up much past little brother and sister’s bedtime, they walked up the big hill behind their home. The eucalyptus trees were rustling in the evening breezes. There were some clouds drifting in the sky and at the top of the hill there were other friends also there. A night owl hooted and the clouds parted, lo and behold, the crescent moon peeped out! Ramadan had begun!
That month, for 30 moons, the crescent would grow fat, and then thin again, back to a sliver. During this month all the grown ups would wake before Father Sun rose. They would eat and pray. The children had their own prayer mats to pray alongside them. The grown ups wouldn’t eat or drink all day until Father Sun had gone to bed.
During the month of Ramadan they did extra nice things for other people. Teachers at school called this ‘acts of service’ – they cooked food for the hungry, they picked up trash at the beach, and they swept the sidewalk for the grandpa that lived next door.
At the end of Ramadan it was Eid al Fitr. For Eid they put on their best clothes, and more aunties and uncles came. It was so lively and joyful! They all cooked special food just for that day and had a party!
The Ramadan story brings to the children many pictures and values – the extended family symbolises warmth, community, and belonging for the children. The grown ups fasting and rising before dawn models the practice of self-discipline, reflection or inner contemplation, gratitude, and humility. Meanwhile, the ‘acts of service’ brings an opportunity for the children to care and show compassion for others.
These teachers feel lucky to be able to celebrate these holidays in a meaningful way but to also carry the values of Ramadan – humility and finding ways to bring in acts of service – into the rest of the year. Thank you to the families that cooked for the celebration and shared their stories and traditions of Ramadan and Eid.
A big thank you in Arabic – Shukran!