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Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. The Muslim calendar is a lunar calendar, which means that the months follow the cycles of the moon. This also means that the months do not correspond to the western calendar months. Each year, Ramadan is approximately 11 days earlier than the year before. As the years go by, Ramadan falls in different seasons, which can lead to some very long, or very shorts, days of fasting!
This year (2016) , Ramadan begins on or around the evening of June 5th. Traditionally, the new moon must be sighted to recognize that Ramadan has begun. Many muslim communities enjoy going out in the evenings to look for the moon. There is great celebration when the moon is spotted at the beginning of Ramadan. Pakistani communities often host parties for the occasion known as “chaand raat” (the night of the moon).
During Ramadan, Muslims around the world re-focus on their spirituality and refrain from indulging their appetites. The most visible examples of this are not eating or drinking from dawn to dusk. But, fasting in Ramadan also includes controlling one’s anger and other negative emotions and actions, among other things.
When the new moon is spotted again at the end of the month, the global Muslim community celebrates with a festival known as “Eid al-Fitr” (celebration of breaking the fast). Eid al-Fitr festivities around the world generally include wearing new clothes, going to the mosque for community prayer, and visiting with friends and neighbors. Local communities have a wide range of traditions they also enjoy.
Resources to Learn About Ramadan
Sunny and Bright in First Grade has this great non-fiction Ramadan close reading pack. This is just the right level to introduce Ramadan and Muslim communities to my students (preschool). Lower elementary students will be able to do the other activities included.
Suzanne Muir has a free downloadable Powerpoint Ramadan story. You can easily print this out to make a book, but you will need Powerpoint to open it.
Teach At Daycare has this printable pack of 30 Ramadan/Muslim themed activities for the classroom for only $1!
1st Grade Rocks has a set of writing prompts for your young writers (also only $1)
Nancy Stewart has a couple of free downloadable mp3s that you may want to add to your class collection
Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, has a children’s song too: Ramadan Moon (on Amazon)
Check out these other Ramadan songs on Amazon
Because the moon sighting features so prominently in the month of Ramadan, this is a great time to learn about the phases of the moon. DeenKits.com makes this great little Montessori 3-part cards set and board with little descriptions of what a family might be doing throughout the month of Ramadan.
This is a photo of my niece checking out the set she got as a birthday gift! She’s still too young for this, but it will perfect for her next year!
Activities for Muslim Families
This is another great little item from DeenKits! It’s a Ramadan Halaqa Calendar and comes with 30 days of cards with a hadith, a child friendly explanation and tips to make it practical. I can see this being a fun little annual ritual in a Muslim home.
Find lots more Ramadan Calendar inspiration at In The Playroom
Find a Word in the Quran, a Ramadan 30 Day Activity at Parenthood: Muslim Style (free printables!)
Use this list of 30 Days of Good Deeds as jumping off points to come up with your own! From In the Playroom (handy printable included)
Check out this series of Ramadan posts on Multicultural Kid Blogs
Children’s Books About Ramadan