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Updated February 2024

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is a very special month for all Muslims around the world because it is the month of fasting during daylight hours and will culminate at the end of the month in the 3-day festival of Eid al-Fitr to celebrate the end of the fasting. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the 5 pillars of Islam along with praying, declaring one’s faith, doing charitable deeds and making a pilgrimage to Mecca. It also strengthens the Muslim communities at home and around the world and Eid al-Fitr is a joyous community celebration with family and friends. 

The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and so the months of the year are based on the cycles of the moon rather than the sun. For this reason, the normal Gregorian date of Ramadan changes each year since there are effectively 13 cycles of the moon each year rather than 12. In 2024, Ramadan starts on Sunday 10th March and ends on Tuesday 9th April.  

How To Greet People During Ramadan 

During Ramadan, you can greet Muslim people by saying “Ramadan Karrem” or “Ramadan Mubarak” which translates to wishing them a happy Ramadan. On the last day (Tuesday 9th April) you can also say “Eid Mubarak”. 

Why Do Muslims Fast During Ramadan? 

Ramadan is the holiest month for Muslims and their holy scripture, the Quran, describes it as a month where there can be guidance for mankind. Fasting is a way of showing devotion to God and mastering self-restraint so that they are better able to listen to and follow God’s laws.  

Does Everyone Have To Fast For Ramadan?

Children are usually excused from fasting until they are at least 14 years old and people who are unwell, pregnant or elderly are usually exempt from fasting. People who are travelling from one place to another are also exempt.

How To Celebrate Ramadan In Your Setting 

Celebrating in your setting is consistent with the EYFS and British Values which promote an understanding of the world around us and the tolerance of all religions. It is estimated that more than 25% of the world’s population are Muslims. In schools, many Muslim children are given a day off school for Eid al-Fitr if it falls on a school day as it is as important to Muslims as Christmas and Easter are to Christians.  

There are many resources on the internet to help you celebrate including assembly and lesson plans, arts and crafts and cooking projects. We’ve collated a few of our favourites here under the headings of the 7 EYFS learning goals.  

Communication And Language 

One of the best ways to celebrate is by asking Muslim children in your setting to share what they do and how they celebrate. You could do this as part of circle time to encourage children’s speaking, listening and communication skills.  

Look at some of the similarities and differences between Ramadan and other religious festivals such as Christmas, Hannukah and Diwali such as the importance of gifts, giving to others, going to a place of worship, feasts and families.  

Personal, Social And Emotional Development 

In this area, you could concentrate on building confidence in trying new activities such as learning some new words “Eid Mubarak” or “Ramadan Karrem” for example.  

You can also focus on the area of “showing sensitivity to the needs of others” which would tie in well with the aspect of Ramadan that requires Muslims to give to charity or do charitable things. You could arrange for children to donate something that could be given to a charity or even bring a toy in to share with other children for the day.  

Physical Development 

Set up some ‘Ramadan Races’ in your setting to promote physical activity. You could hide some stars, moons and sun images around the setting and get the children to find them. Try to hide them in places that the children will have to look under, climb over things and lift things to find.  

You can also download some mandala colouring images to help with fine motor skills too.  

Literacy 

There are lots of books and videos that you can use in storytime to explain to your children about Ramadan. You can find a comprehensive list of suitable books on the Save The Children website at: https://www.savethechildren.org/us/charity-stories/ramadan-reading-list-children-books including “It’s Ramadan, Curious George” by H. A. Rey and Hena Khan, and “Ramadan: The Month of Shukr” by Sidra Hashmani. 

Maths 

Introduce the idea of fractions. You can use the phases of the moon to show the whole (full moon) and halves with a half-moon. You can also use the crescent moon to show quarters and other fractions.  

Talk to the children about time and set up an analogue clock in your setting which shows the hours of daylight at this time of year. See if they can count how many hours of daylight there are.  

Understanding The World 

You could make a large wall display showing the countries in the world that mostly follow the Islamic religion. You can find a choropleth map at: https://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/map/World-Muslim-Population-map.htm  

Cooking is also a great way to introduce children to different places and cultures around the world. Although fasting is what most people associate with Ramadan, Muslims do eat during the month, but only when the sun is not up. They can have a meal before dawn called the suhoor or sehri and another one after sunset called the iftar.

Ramadan Recipes For Eid al-Fitr

Once fasting is over, the feast can begin and there are a number of traditional dishes that are served including:

  • Dates – these are a traditional way to ease back into eating after fasting
  • Soups – popular varieties are vegetable, lentil, chicken and vermicelli
  • Fattoush - Fattoush is a salad made of fresh vegetables and served with either pita or crispy bread
  • Tharid – this is one of the most typical Ramadan dishes, and consists of Arabian meat and a vegetable stew over crispy bread. There are many variations on the dish, like the Levantine fatteh, Moroccan trid, and Iranian dizi
  • Kebabs and samosas – meat and/or vegetarian versions
  • Baklava – a sweet dessert made with nuts and honey

Expressive Arts And Design 

Ramadan is full of joy so why not express this through a song or dance? There are videos on the internet with songs and dances suitable for pre-schoolers or you could ask a member of your staff or local community to come and teach a song to the children.  

There are also lots of arts and craft ideas too, including: 

  • Create a sun, moon and stars picture – try making stencils or potato print stamps in the different designs 
  • Make paper lanterns in traditional shapes. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=ZwHh2uJwBqA for an easy-to-follow tutorial.  
  • Make sun catchers and celebration jars or see more ideas at https://artsycraftsymom.com/10-ramadan-crafts-and-activities-for-kids/  

The main symbols of Ramadan are the crescent moon and a star so you could just fill your setting with images of these too. 

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