When I was young, I had the privilege of spending my first few Ramadans in Saudi Arabia. I must admit that if anyone has done so, they will not be able to enjoy Ramadan anywhere else.
As a child I used to have so much ‘fun’. Not only my father’s job hours would become flexible in Ramadan but even the school would pretty much stop functioning, and completely closed during last 10 days and plus the Eid vacation. Ramadan nights used to be very amusing. I used to stay awake all night. And it wasn’t me alone, almost everyone stays awake all/most part of the night in Saudi, even the markets and bazaars would stay open until 1 or 2 in the morning. Sometimes, I would go with my father to pray tarawih at the Masjid and sometimes all the kids in the neighborhood get together to play all night. So, it wasn’t like I would ‘improve’ spiritually but just having a different schedule, the yummy food, and playing all night would me look forward to Ramadhan.
For those children growing up in West, Ramadhan could be pretty much like any other month, especially if not surrounded by a large Muslim community. My children’s first few Ramadhan were spent in Houston. They loved breaking Iftaar at the majsid. Although, the iftaar would be simple dinner, but for them seeing their friends and playing with them at the Masjid was far more important. Then we moved away to a smaller community but very close to the Masjid. The Masjid here doesn’t hold iftaars every day, but children come here for Tarawih and play outside in the masjid’s huge parking lot. This made my children’s Ramadhan special again and I was happy that they still felt that Ramadhan ‘spirit’ as they did back in Houston. Of course, my husband made my son pray everyday a few rakahs, but mostly he would play. It is very important that our children look forward to Ramadhan and feel the ‘specialty’ of it even if it is by more entertainment and less spirituality for small children.
Similarly, Eid should be made very special for our children as well. They should not think that Christmas or other celebrations are more fun then our Eid. I never felt the need of doing anything ‘extra’ for my children in Houston because with all the parties our families and friends would throw and all the carnivals Houston Masajids would hold even days after Eid would make Eid special in every way. But here in smaller community my children were missing out on all that fun.
So, I planned to make our own Eid party. I let them make a list of all the friends they wanted to invite and then let them write the Eid invitation cards (I never realized children enjoy that so much!!) Next we planned the activities together. We rented a moonwalk and cotton candy machine. We went shopping together. We made goody bags together and blew balloons. My children were very excited and their glowing faces paid off my hard work. And of course, I can never thank enough my husband for his assistance in every possible way and giving me the full freedom of doing whatever I wished!! I took my husband’s suggestion of making it potluck to make it less hectic for myself! So we had a variety of food. Cotton candy was a big hit. I think I might buy it instead of renting it every time. It is cheaper that way! 🙂
The party turned out very good alhamdullialh. Not only my children are looking forward to Eid-ul-Adha but even the other kids who were invited!
I think all the parents should plan out special events for their children for Eid. Gifts are mandatory. Anything that children are not allowed to do normally should be allowed on Eid day, like candies, soft drinks etc. I told my children that there are no ‘Nos’ for them on Eid. My kids are clever enough to keep reminding me that Eid is THREE days. Although it is for Eid-ul-Adha but I guess I can spare them Eid-ul-Fitr as well!
Can’t wait for the next Eid!