Ramadan & Eid: A Special Time for My Family & Me
Today’s guest blogger is Ms. Huma. She is a preschool teacher at Bright Horizons at Raleigh Corporate Center and is also a mom of four kids, ages 6, 9, 15, and 17.
Ms. Huma and her family observe Ramadan, a holy month of fasting, prayer, and charity. We invited Ms. Huma to share how her family commemorates Ramadan, which this year occurred from May 26 to June 24. Ms. Huma also explains the holiday of Eid, which takes place at the end of Ramadan.
The Meaning Behind Ramadan & Eid
My family recently observed one of our biggest holidays of the year: Ramadan. It is Islam’s holiest month, and is a time of self-purification that is meant to reinforce one’s belief in a power bigger than you. One of the most well-known aspects of Ramadan is that Muslim adults who observe Ramadan fast every day from dawn to sunset. Fasting is meant to teach gratitude; when you feel hungry, it makes you think of people who are less fortunate than you and gives you the responsibility of helping others.
Ramadan is also a month to build good habits and practice doing good deeds. This is a tradition that my children take part in; they participate in events like toy drives at the local mosque and food drives to fill the food pantry for people in the community. I also encourage them to give to charity using their own money to teach them the responsibility of taking care of others at an early age.
During the month of Ramadan, it’s part of our culture and tradition to share with our neighbors. I send my children with food to deliver it to our neighbors. They go door-to-door distributing the treats and explaining how they like to share what is made at home for Ramadan iftaar, our nightly meal during Ramadan. It all depends on what I am making that day, for example: fruit chaat (fruit salad), chana chaat (chickpeas salad), pakoray (a fried snack), and more. When my kids drop off the treats, they take hand-written cards like the one above.
Ramadan culminates with a celebration called Eid. This festival begins when you can see the crescent moon in the sky. This year in the U.S., it took place on the evening of Saturday, June 24 and continued for next three days. Eid was celebrated on Sunday, June 25. My family starts preparing for Eid during Ramadan. I buy new clothes, shoes and jewelry for my children. Every year we try and make Eid a family reunion, this year my parents came to stay with us for few weeks.
On the actual day of Eid, we eat a good breakfast in the morning before leaving for the large congregational Eid prayer with our friends and family. Upon arrival, we give Eid charity for each family member to support the needy people in the community. After coming back we exchange gifts and children get Eidi (money) from elders. Then we go to Eid parties and celebrate Eid with our family and friends.
Like in other faiths, it’s common to hear people wishing each other well during this holy month. “Happy Ramadan,” or “Ramadan Mubarak,” which means, “May Ramadan bring us blessings.” are common greetings. During Eid, we say, “Eid Mubarak,” or “Blessed Eid.”
Since Ramadan is a chance for reflection, charity, and togetherness, it’s a time that I look forward to every year. Each time I see a new meaning and it shows me that being open invites openness. In our years of observing Ramadan, this year a neighbor brought us a handmade card and some treats in return, and asked to learn some more about it.