Illustration by Laura K. Horton from The Gift of Ramadan by Rabiah York Lumbard
As a child growing up in America, I loved seeing friends and families gather around a table filled with plates of sticky dates, fruit salads and crispy, spicy samosas. I remember feeling hopeful and filled with a sense of belonging.
The holy month of Ramadan marks the month that Muslims abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. It is also a time for spiritual reflection and self-improvement. However, for children it represents family gatherings, acts of kindness and of course, tasty treats. Now I can share these traditions with my own children while teaching them how the rest of the world celebrates.
In Indonesia, Muslims follow the tradition of padusan, where they cleanse themselves by taking a dip in nearby spring or lake the night before Ramadan begins. They fire cannons in Lebanon at sunset to mark the end of a fast. Children across the Gulf will sing local folk songs and have neighbors fill their bags with treats.
In Pakistan, on the last day of Ramadan, women will gather for chaand raat, where they decorate their hands in henna, collect colorful bangles and wait for the new day. Egyptians light fanous, or colorful lanterns to spread light and joy during the month. And in South Africa, maan kykers or moon watchers gather to search for the new moon.
Over a billion Muslims observe Ramadan worldwide, filling their family tables with their own unique customs. Join us as we highlight these communities and celebrate the stories of children around the world.
Check out these books from our collection, with traditions from various countries and cultures:
Mustafa Amca and his wife have a yearly tradition - they cook iftar for their friends and neighbours on the first day of Ramadan. This year, Mustafa Amca's wife is sick and can't help him cook! Will he be able to find others to pitch in and create a meal for everyone to enjoy? A wonderful, rich story about selflessness and generosity! --publisher's site
Year after year, in the blessed month of Ramadan, little Najma has happily arisen to the drum beat of her neighborhood's musaharati. He walks through the streets of her small Turkish village, waking each family for the pre-dawn meal before the long day of fasting. Najma wants nothing more than to be a musaharati herself one day, but no girl has ever taken on the role before. Will she have what it takes to be the drummer girl of her dreams? Find out in this inspirational story of sincerity, determination, and believing in yourself.
Now that she is ten, Lailah is delighted that she can fast during the month of Ramadan like her family and her friends in Abu Dhabi, but finding a way to explain to her teacher and classmates in Atlanta is a challenge until she gets some good advice from the librarian, Mrs. Carman.
Amal is back! Older than he was in his first book, (Amal's Eid), our friend is ready to try his first Ramadan fast. That means no eating or drinking while the sun is in the sky. He's very excited to fast like his parents and grandparents...but halfway through the day, he starts to feel dizzy. Will Amal make it to sunset without eating or drinking? And if he needs to drink or eat, will he be able to try again tomorrow? Join Amal as he learns about tradition and the love and support of family, even when things go differently than he planned.
Nine-year-old Shirin wants to join her family and other Muslims in fasting for Ramadan but is told she is too young, and so she seeks other ways to participate including, perhaps, getting along better with her older brother, Ali.
Yasmeen has a wonderful time celebrating the Muslim holy month of Ramadan with her family and friends.
More Ramadan Traditions:
Ramadan is coming and Leena is excited. Although she is too young to fast each day during the Muslim holy month, she decides to fast on a Friday that her aunt will be visiting. Now Leena has a dilemma. She receives an invitation to a party which happens to fall on that same Friday. But when Leena, who is the only Muslim at the party, sees her friends enjoying fresh lemonade and chocolate cake, her stomach starts to growl and her head begins to hurt. Will she keep her Ramadan fast?
Sophia wants to fast for Ramadan this year. She tries to keep busy throughout the day so she won’t think about food. But when the smell of cookies is too much, she breaks her fast early. How can she be part of the festivities now? -- publisher
A description of the celebration of the Islamic holiday of Ramadan with its concluding celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr from the perspective of children and their family
And Coming Soon:
by Jasmine Zine and Brad Cornelius
This wonderful story about a grandfather passing on the Ramadan traditions of his native Egypt to his American grandson will surely relate to the hearts of many young American Muslims.
by Ndaa Hassan and illustrated by Azra Momin
Ramadan Around The World is written and illustrated not just to expand the world-view of Muslim children but also to serve as a key resource in teaching young children and educators from non-Muslim backgrounds about Ramadan. This is the perfect book to read to the class and donate to your child’s school library. It is written with both Muslim and non-Muslim young readers in mind. - From Launchgood website