Hello friends! Today, I want to talk about a special tradition that I grew up watching my mom bring to life in our home and show you how to celebrate Ramadan with your neighbours.
Ramadan is a very special time of the year for Muslims. It is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, during which Muslims all around the world fast from dawn to sunset. Ramadan is all about self-control and discipline for the sake of Allah. I struggle during this season with my motivations and temptations, and use this time to reflect on these struggles and try to grow spiritually. Usually, at this time of year, mosques around the world are filled with worshippers standing in prayer into the wee hours of the night.
How We Celebrate Ramadan
Ramadan is also about charity, giving, and fostering a sense of community and brotherhood with those around us. Growing up in a Muslim country (Pakistan), I watched my mom sending platters of food to our neighbours to share our meals. I remember her inviting family members to our home or going to their houses ourselves for iftaar (when Muslims break their fast at sunset). This is a seminal tradition that I have understood since my first memory of Ramadan. Now that I live in a multicultural country with people of many religious backgrounds, I use Ramadan as an opportunity to share my love of Islam and this holy time with my neighbours. I also want this to be a tradition we pass on to our own daughter, and hopefully future generations as well.
We do other things at home like decorate for Ramadan and give gifts on Eid and Ramadan too! Some of our favourite Ramadan foods are pakoras! I also love getting my children involved at home with these DIY Ramadan Advent Calendars. But in this particular post, I want to focus on how to celebrate Ramadan by sharing it joyfully with your neighbours and others outside your own home.
A gift for our neighbours
I took this tradition of celebrating Ramadan with my neighbours with me to Vancouver when I moved there in 2018. I was new to a neighbourhood where I was the only Muslim. Given that I did not know any of my neighbours very well and wasn’t sure about their possible food/dietary restrictions, I went a slightly non-traditional route, and gave out candy! I decided to do this because it’s convenient, everyone loves candy, and the ingredients in each piece of candy are very straightforward and well-known. These adorable pastel coloured lanterns were found at Dollarama, and they were a nice symbol of what Ramadan is about – sharing our love of Islam with the community, like a light in the darkness. I also picked up a variety of packaged candy that could easily fit into the lantern and stuffed them well.
Next, to add a personal touch, I created these little tags and have linked them below for you to download for FREE. I printed them at my nearest stationary store on cardstock and attached them to the lantern using ribbon.
I wanted to involve my daughter in this tradition of sharing and celebrating Ramadan with our new neighbours. We walked to our neighbours’ houses, and I had her hand them the candy-filled lanterns. This was such a great way to say hi and introduce myself to neighbours who I had seen around, but never formally talked to. I know this can be intimidating for some but let me assure you, it is worth the discomfort! It is such a nice feeling to meet a neighbour and know that you are becoming part of a little community you are creating by taking the first step. Most people are more than happy to connect, but don’t know how to do it! Explaining how we like to celebrate Ramadan by sharing with others is a perfect reason to reach out, and it has always been welcomed in my experience.
This Ramadan, I encourage you to share whatever it is you put on your table with your neighbour. Even if it’s just a little something like a plate of dates – walk over to their house and tell them about Ramadan. Ramadan is so much more than just abstaining from food and drink. Let’s be part of creating that sense of community wherever we live, by sharing this special month with others.
I would love to hear about your Ramadan traditions! Tell me in the comments below.
Until next time!
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