Many of us may be wondering how to make this first post-lockdown Eid a memorable one for our little ones and not so little ones…here are 5 simple ideas to make the day fun-filled and positive for all the family, insha’Allah.
5 Ways to Have a Memorable Post-Lockdown Eid
Eid al-Fitr, also called the “Festival of Breaking the Fast” is celebrated by Muslims all around the world, marking the end of the Holy month of Ramadhan and celebrating the completion of a month full of fasting.
2022 signalled the end of a period of lockdown for most countries across the world, and with that the removal restrictions that drastically affected the social dynamics of some of the Islamic practices we have performed over the last couple of years, including attending congregational prayers, performing acts of charity and maintaining family relations.
With the caveat that we all still need to be extremely careful as we are still experiencing a pandemic and that there are a lot of vulnerable people in our society that we need to be mindful of in the everyday, we are now able to engage in pre-lockdown festivities that have been very much missed, Eid being one of them!
I shudder at the memory of how we all “celebrated” Eid in the UK in 2020, where we had to stay indoors for the majority of the day and when doing the rounds to see family, could only knock on their doors and then take several steps back and engage in the loudest conversations the street had ever heard. I’m sure that 65% of people reading this have had the memories of an Eid Kahoot quiz over Zoom etched in their minds. Although 2021 was a little bit better, the vaccine programme was only just getting started so there was still a lot of uncertainty, coupled with limitations that did not allow for indoor mixing between different households, so it was still a bit of a weird Eid to experience.
This year, Eid will be the closest it has been to what it used to be pre-lockdown, and for kids that were born during the lockdown era (mine included!), it will probably be the first “normal” Eid that they have experienced in their lives. For the other children, they have most likely forgotten what Eid ought to feel like given the trauma of the past couple of years. Either way, it is time for a course-correction.
I have been thinking about how to make this first post-lockdown Eid a memorable one for my little one, and have come up with a list of 5 ways to do so. Within that, I have tried developing my suggestions to make the list applicable to those who are much older than my 20-month old. I have also not included the suggestion of visiting family and having gatherings with them due to the varying circumstances of those reading this article. I hope the list is useful, and would love to hear everyone else’s suggestions for the joyous day!
Make it a big event!
Allah talks about Eid in the Holy Qur’an in Suratul Baqarah, (2:185) where He says, “You shall complete the number (of days) and you may glorify God for His guiding you, and that you may be thankful.”
We will have just completed 30 days of fasting, which is undoubtedly a difficult task for anyone. Eid-al Fitr therefore is the opportunity for us to celebrate and be thankful to Allah for giving us the strength to complete this very difficult challenge and embrace the growth we have achieved in the holy month.
We have the opportunity to make it a very fun, exciting day for our kids! I still remember waking up on Eid day as a kid, giddy with anticipation of what the day might bring. I would recommend making the effort to make this a big event: Hang decorations up in the house, wear something fancy, spray something nice and really embrace the festivity of the day. Children are very observant and will identify that as this behaviour is not the norm, it must be because something important is happening. Feel free to be generous with the “Eid Mubaraks!” so that they can make the connection between the greeting, the actions and the day. For the older, more verbal children, you can explain to them why it is you’re celebrating and how they can get involved. I’m sure their curiosity will be piqued when they see that Baba is suddenly having breakfast after having not done so for a whole month!
Give gifts and be deliberate that it is for Eid
Building on the first point, one of the most enjoyable parts of this day/days are the gifts that we give and receive. I know people well into their 30s (myself included!) that still receive ‘Eidi’s from older relatives, and it still feels quite good to receive them! It is a circular economy though, so although it is nice to receive gifts, it is even better to give gifts. The practice of gift giving on this day is one that allows us to exercise generosity and kindness. If our children witness us doing so, there is a high chance that they will adopt these practices and appreciate the positive association with these acts. It may even be worth asking them to make and give gifts to others, be it grandparents, siblings or your significant other (which will definitely earn you brownie points in the process!).
Visit the graveyard
The pandemic has claimed the lives of many a loved one, who your child/children may or may not have met. Taking them to the graveyard to pray for and remember those that have returned to Allah is something that I would recommend as it serves two purposes. It firstly gives you the chance to tell your children about the person whose grave it is you are visiting and what they meant to you and what you learnt from them. If your child had also met them while they were alive, it may give them the chance to also share these thoughts.
Secondly, it provides us with the opportunity to reflect on the hereafter and the sensitive topic of death, and discuss it in a way that is digestible for our children. Please do the research and preparation into how to approach the topic before you bring it up, as it needs to be navigated quite delicately in order for children to really process what is being said, depending on their age.
Engage in acts of charity
Ramadhan will have insha’Allah provided ample opportunity to engage in acts that elevate our spirituality, such as performing acts of Charity and to give to good causes (such as Muslim Family Hub! Link to sponsor us is www.launchgood.com/mymuslimfamily 😉 )
It is important that we maintain the level of spirituality we have hopefully achieved during the Holy Month. One of the ways of doing so is by engaging in acts of Charity. You can obviously donate online and make an impact in that way, but I would recommend being deliberate with how you give. I have had a few parents highlight the impact of providing gifts and essential items to the needy in the presence of their children, or even encouraging their children to give to the needy themselves. We can teach them of the values of thinking about those less fortunate than ourselves who cannot celebrate Eid in the same way we do. There are a lot teachable moments we can bestow on our children on the virtues of thinking about others, serving our society and caring for the less fortunate that they can reflect on and implement in their own lives. To associate those acts with Eid will also make the celebrations more meaningful and will help maintain that spiritual buzz we have obtained from the holy month.
Go somewhere special/out of the ordinary
To make the day more special, planning a trip to a farm, zoo, museum, theme park etc. is always helpful. The aim is to associate the great memories from these trips with Eid, so that the positivity surround Eid is ingrained within them. These experiences do not need to break the bank, as children tend to soak in the experiences either way (although admittedly, some experiences are more accessible for the right price…). I am planning on taking my daughter to the Deer Park on the day, which is completely free and hopefully fun for her. Speaking as a Londoner, there are thankfully a lot of free museums to visit, as well as parks with cool features within them and beautiful scenic routes to enjoy.
I hope and pray that the list is useful and that you have a wonderful Eid with all the family. Eid Mubarak!