Living in the West, in a society that includes people from various faiths and cultures, considerable festivities are celebrated. Some have been exploited by consumerism making the festivals attractive to young families.
Though these holidays have stemmed from a religious, cultural, or historical background, it has become commercialized, tempting people into these celebrations. The schools adopt these events and tend to perform the traditions associated with each holiday which can attract our young children.
Muslim families aren’t immune to this, and we see nowadays that many people from our communities take part in holidays such as Easter, Halloween, and Christmas.
It is understandable to want to participate in these holidays as there can be peer pressure, or because it is enjoyable and exciting to celebrate all the festivities.
Though it isn’t haram to celebrate any of these events, any tradition we adopt becomes part of our identity. We are blessed with a rich culture and have many traditions within our faith. Rather than celebrating holidays such as Easter and Christmas, we can focus on those we have.
The purpose of celebrating or commemorating anything is to come closer to Allah. As parents, if we are proud of our identity and our celebrations, our children will be less inclined to partake in those holidays which aren’t part of Islam. It is also integral to make our celebrations enjoyable, for the kids not to feel that they’re missing out.
There is a hadith of Imām ʿAlī (ʿa) which says:
Verily Allāh, the Glorified, checked the earth and chose for us followers who would help us, would be gladdened by our joy, and saddened by our sadness, and would spend from their persons and their possessions in our way – these are the ones who are from us and shall rejoin us [in the Hereafter].
There will also be times when the months of Muharram, Safar and Ramaḍān coincide with these holidays. As role models to youngsters, we should prioritize the Islamic months over these celebrations to teach our children to be confident. It is a learned behavior which starts with the parents.
A child’s confidence in their Muslim identity begins from their upbringing. As parents, when we give importance to those celebrations in the Islamic calendar, such as Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha, Eid-e-Ghadeer and numerous wilādah, our children won’t feel like they are missing out. Many traditions like getting together with family and exchanging gifts are recommended in Islam, the main difference being that it has a background based on faith and ultimately brings us closer to Allah.
Communicating as a family can help answer any questions that children may have and is the ideal time to teach them how to respect others’ choices while also standing up for your beliefs and values as a family.
Here are some ways we can celebrate special occasions and ways we can introduce our festivities to our friends and neighbors:
· Take the day off to attend Eid namaz.
· Decorate your home to make it festive and invite family/friends over.
· Exchange gifts with our loved ones.
· On any Eid, make and give treats to your neighbors with a short explanation of what you are celebrating.
· Give gifts to your close friends at school on Eid so they may know a little about our celebrations.
As social beings, we need a sense of community and belonging and living in the West, we may feel excluded. By putting in the effort during these times, we give our children the confidence in what they believe in and do not feel like they are missing out when occasions that aren’t part of our faith occur.
Books available on Ramadan and other events celebrated:
- Hamza and Aliya Share the Ramadan Cheer – Al–Kisa Foundation
- Mysteries in the Holy Month of Ramadan (2 Book Series) – Um Aimen Al-Attar
- The Story of Mubahala – Um Aimen Al-Attar
- Ramadan Around The World – Ndaa Hassan
- My First Book About Ramadan – Sara Khan
Activity books/crafts available for various events celebrated:
- Ramadan Puzzle Book – Um Aimen Al-Attar
- Hajj & Eid – Um Aimen Al-Attar
- Mawlid Nabawi Pack – Um Aimen Al-Attar
- Ramadan Activity Pack – Um Aimen Al-Attar
*umaimenbooks.com and alkisafoudation.org have many books and activities for different events that occur through the Islamic Calendar.
1 Ghurar al_Hikam, # 5060