How This Mom Celebrates Ramadan with Her Fort Worth Family

A paper plate cut into the shape of a crescent moon, painted gold, with a golden star tied to it, reads "Ramadan."Not many people are familiar with the lunar calendar, but more than 1.8 billion Muslims in the world are. Muslims follow a lunar calendar. We are now in the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Since we follow a lunar calendar, the start date of Ramadan changes every year, as does the duration of the fast due to the days getting longer.

This year, Ramadan began on March 11 and will end approximately April 10. Fasting begins at sunrise and ends at sunset. Here in Fort Worth, we begin our fast at 6:20 a.m. (it gets earlier every day) and break our fast at 7:45 p.m. (it gets later every day). 

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During this month, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. We abstain from both food and drinks. This is a month of spiritual renewal. Fasting teaches us self discipline and self control. We abstain not only from food and drink, but also smoking, bad thoughts, and gossip. 

To say it’s an easy month is a lie. Back in high school, during Ramadan, I would run laps around the court under the Virgin Islands’ blazing sun. I would practice basketball and volleyball, all while fasting! Now with three children, it is definitely no easy lap.

My children, seven and eight years old, participate, although, it is not required of them until they reach puberty. In fact, fasting is not required for children, the elderly, sick, pregnant and nursing mothers, or those on their menstrual cycle.

A Muslim boy with lanterns of many colors observes Ramadan with his family.Our Traditions

My children’s fasts vary from full days to full hours, with mostly half days throughout. Even though it’s not expected of them, my kids chose to fast because they wanted to. So, I wake them up at 6:00 a.m. for suhoor, which is a meal eaten before the sun rises during Ramadan. For suhoor, we try to eat filling and fiber-rich foods to maintain us through the day. Some of what we eat includes dates, egg sandwiches, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. After suhoor, they get ready for school, and our fast for the day begins.

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At the start of Ramadan, we decorate our home. We put up our crescent moon lights (crescent moon signifies the start of a new month). We take out our lanterns of different sizes, and we set our dining table with more lanterns and fine dinnerware. To make Ramadan even more special for my kids, I gift them a Ramadan basket that has matching moon pjs, new Islamic books, Ramadan crafts, and an activity book. The books I gifted this year were Moon’s Ramadan, Little Leena Learns about Ramadan, and It’s Ramadan, Curious George.

Blessed Eid

After Ramadan, a Muslim family celebrates with a feast that includes Eid cookies filled with different fruits and nuts.After 29 or 30 days of fasting, we celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the breaking of our fast. My kids and I make our special Eid cookies. Every culture and family has their own special cookie, but somehow we all incorporate dates into our sweets! We make kaek el-Eid, which are round cookies filled with dates, and petite four cookies that are decorated with sprinkles, shredded coconut, and pistachios. We also make mamoul cookies which are filled either with dates, pistachios, or walnuts. It takes us several days of baking and assembling the cookies. We share the cookies with our visitors, family, and friends. 

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Eid al-Fitr also means gifts for the kids. They get new clothes, new toys, and money. Eid day starts with a special prayer at our local masjid. Afterward, we visit family and friends, and call the members of our family who live far away to wish them Eid Mubarak, which means  “blessed Eid.” 

 

Sana
Sana was born and raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She moved to Texas in 2013 and has three children. Her first two are one year apart and her youngest was born January 2022. She is a graduate of the University of the Virgin Islands with degrees in communications and accounting. She always had a passion for reading and writing and is growing that love in her children. Sana enjoys finding a great deal, dance parties in the kitchen with all three kids, and her daily cups of coffee.

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