Celebrating Eid al Fitr

After 30 days of fasting, Muslim worldwide mark the end of Ramadan with Eid al Fitr, literally a festival of breaking the fast. Celebrants dress in fancy clothes, prepare special foods, eat lots of sweet treats, and exchange gifts. It’s a time of joyfulness after a month of being especially mindful of one’s spiritual values and ethical responsibilities.

Many Muslim communities welcome non-Muslims to celebrate with them. Local Islamic centers may hold a public festival, with foods representing various Muslim cultures or an invitation to bring a dish for a neighborly potluck dinner. Some extended families choose to celebrate at home with a big family reunion. Whatever form the gathering takes, the holiday (April 22nd in 2023) is filled with smiles and gratitude.

Try one or more of these activities as part of your celebration and/or exploration of Eid al Fitr.

Donate to a food pantry. So that everyone can enjoy Eid, Muslims make special donations of food and money to help those who are poor have supplies for their feast. Invite children to hold a canned food drive in partnership with a local food pantry. Find out what kinds of foods are most needed and create flyers and social media posts together to educate the community. You might even set up a friendly competition to see who can collect the most items or pounds of food in a specified time period.

Make affirmation cards for family members. Eid al Fitr particularly celebrates the spiritual lives of families, who have fasted and prayed together even when it was tough to stay focused. Encourage children to think about the traits they most appreciate in other family members. Perhaps they admire an aunt’s honesty when a cashier returns too much change or a sibling’s willingness to explain how something works. Maybe they are glad that a parent always laughs at their jokes or a cousin volunteers to fix bikes. Provide cardstock or paper and art supplies so they can create and share colorful cards celebrating those traits.

Share sweet treats. Holidays and sweet treats go together, especially after being mindful about when and what one eats for a whole month! Take time to make a favorite dessert together or bake a few batches of cookies representing family members’ preferred kinds. This might also be an opportunity to try out some treats from other cultures to discover new favorites. Some traditional Eid foods that might be made or purchased: baklava, sweet samosas, stuffed dates, nougat, and Turkish delight, as well as a variety of sweet puddings made with semolina, rice or vermicelli.

Put on a self-reflective fashion show. New or special  clothes are a hallmark of Eid, marking renewed awareness of one’s values and responsibilities in life. Invite children to pick out a favorite outfit and strike a pose while sharing why they like it. Ask: How do you feel when you wear this outfit? What do you think other people see in you when you are wearing it? What would you like them to see?



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