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ramadan lesson plan celebrate together

April 19, 2021

Celebrating Ramadan and Sharing Traditions with Students

Use this blog to learn more about some of the most cherished Ramadan traditions and use a Ramadan lesson plan to help students with learning vocabulary.


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By Abeer Shinnawi

Celebrating Ramadan and Sharing Traditions

Ramadan is a month of fasting for Muslims all over the world. Because Muslims follow a lunar calendar, Ramadan does not fall in the same month or season each year. When I was younger, I recall Ramadan falling in July when my younger brother was born so he was named Ramadan as homage to the holy month. The summer is always harder for those fasting because the days are longer, and the heat is unforgiving.

Last year, the pandemic created a sense of isolation for many during the month because Ramadan is also a special time of year where people “compete” to feed as many friends as possible, families and other fasting Muslims to help spread the feeling of good will and zakat. My family and I missed being able to host or visit our friends and family, but we created some memories that we will cherish. Being home, our family was able to practice Ramadan at a much slower pace than usual, giving us more focus on the simpler meanings of Ramadan, which are always family and spiritual connection with the faith.

To learn more about how you can help accommodate your students or if you are just interested in learning more about the holy month of Ramadan, please read the following blogs:

Supporting Students During Ramadan

supporting students during ramadan lesson plan

Sharing Ramadan Traditions

Although refraining from sunrise to sunset from food, smoking and water (yes, not even water has become a famous meme), Ramadan brings a special sentimentality, family togetherness, spirituality and love to many who observe the holy month. Just as with any faith or holiday, Muslim families have their own traditions; they practice making the month extra special for their loved ones. Here are some shared traditions to give you a glimpse of how Muslim families celebrate the holiest of months:

  • We decorate the house; the girls love setting up iftars/cooking, visit each other, we used to host three iftarsone always is dedicated to our Aunt Maryam El-Mekki Abdullah who introduced Islam and Malcolm X to her young niece ... my Mama, extra Dua Kumayls and Hadith Al-Kisa reads. Sharif El-Mekki
  • We do new Ramadan pajamas every year, decorate Ramadan cookies, and fill their Ramadan calendars with treats and suggested Ramadan good deeds! Aya Khalil
  • When the girls were younger, we would decorate the house and have daily challenges like: Recite this Surah (chapter from the Quran), write a letter to your Sito (Arabic for grandmother), draw the kaaba (holy site in Mecca, Saudi Arabia) and write some athkaar (prayers) up tobuy a gift for a child in need, go to the soup kitchen to help, clean the masjid, etc. We would also make maamoul and katayef and mini-kunafahs. The girls learned a lot doing these things. Before Ramadan, we would stuff some dates with almonds or whatever they wanted. Now they are older. Of course, there are iftars (breaking the fast) with the rest of the family and friends who are family. The iftars at the masjid. Making the Eid goody bags for the kids for Eid Salat. So many wonderful memories. Maybe one day, I can do some of this with my future grandkids. One last thing: Eid. With Eid, the girls would give a gift to their teachers. I take baklawa (with a note next to it) to school for everyone to celebrate with me. I figure we celebrate with everyone else on their holidays, why not invite them to celebrate with ours? —Wafa Safi
  • When my siblings and I were a little older, our parents had us read books about Islamic history, etc., and then talk about them over iftar (like a book club—instead of reading just the Quran, we read “Muhammad,” “Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes,” etc.). —Nafeesa
  • We have a set of drawers set up. Kids open each numbered drawer daily. Each day they have to do a good deed. If that’s completed, they get a prize. We used to do an iftar at each family’s house on the weekend but can’t with the pandemic. —Samirah
  • We have a Breakfast-for-Dinner iftar meal with all the breakfast favorites (pancakes, omelets, etc.).Sahar Mustafah
  • For the first day of Ramadan, we have a Breakfast-for-iftar meal. Olah Abdellatif
  • We pass out gifts to our neighbors during Ramadan. Sometimes a box of dates, sometimes a basket of fruit, sometimes a tray of maamoul; it gets them curious about our holiday. It’s a good way to spread Ramadan vibes. Tefa Sarama
  • For Ramadan, we put up lights on the windows and decorate the inside of the house with lights up the stairwell. We have joined family suhoor (early breakfast before beginning the fast) at least once at my house. Anika Ingram
  • We make samosas and other snacks to freeze in preparation for Ramadan. I am getting a Ramadan advent calendar ready with money, treats and slips of paper with an activity for kids to do. We decorate the house with lights and other decorations. Shaista Abbasi

These provide just a glimpse into Ramadan celebrations, each different because Muslims reflect a vast array of diversity, yet they are all connecting through their own take on what the month of Ramadan means to them. Muslims are your neighbors, colleagues and friends. I personally love learning about the traditions of my friends from other faiths and practices, so I hope you will reach out to learn more about the beautiful traditions shared during this special time of year for Muslims all over the world.

Ramadan Lesson Plan: Student Activity Idea

Generate a glossary of terms based on the vocabulary shared above:

  • Arabic
  • Athkaar
  • Baklawa
  • Dates
  • Eid
  • Eid Salat
  • Faith
  • Fasting
  • Iftar
  • Islam
  • Kaaba
  • Katayef
  • Kunafahs
  • Lunar
  • Maamoul
  • Masjid
  • Mecca
  • Muhammad
  • Muslims
  • Quran
  • Ramadan, the holy month
  • Ramadan Mubarak
  • Samosas
  • Sito
  • Suhoor
  • Surah
  • Tradition
  • Zakat

To those who celebrate and friends who are sharing in our traditions, Ramadan Mubarak!

abeer shinnawi re-imagining migration ramadan lesson plan and sharing traditions blog

Abeer Shinnawi is the program lead for Re-Imagining Migration, a first-generation Arab American, devoted equity advocate, and mother of three girls.

Re-Imagining Migration

Re-Imagining Migration'smissionis to advance the education and well-being of immigrant-origin youth, decrease bias and hatred against young people of diverse origins, and help rising generations develop the critical understanding and empathy necessary to build and sustain welcoming and inclusive com

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