Ramadan the Month

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and lasts 29 or 30 days, depending on the visual sighting of the new crescent moon. Ramadan (like all the other Islamic months) adheres to the lunar calendar (which follows the phases of the moon), and since this is eleven days shorter than the Gregorian calendar (which follows the sun), it comes eleven days earlier every year. This means that Ramadan will occur in various seasons and weather throughout the years.

“This is a month of giving. Of healing and caring. It is a time for people to remember those who are less fortunate and an opportunity to reinforce the spiritual reasons behind fighting hunger and poverty,”

The Month of Sawm

The Fast

Sawm is the Arabic word for fasting, and is the fourth pillar in Islam, which is incumbent on all Muslim males and females who have reached the age of puberty, and who are mentally and physically fit. A person who fasts must refrain from dawn until dusk from: eating, drinking, smoking, sexual relations, foul language, & bad conduct. However, there are many people who are exempted from observing fasting. People such as: the elderly, the sick, those who are on a journey, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, & women who are menstruating.

Everyone in Ramadan is asked to do as many good deeds as they possibly can over the course of the holiday. Fasting is an act of worship, so those who miss their fasts, are required to make up the equal amount of missed days later in the year. Those who are unable to fast at all, must feed a needy person for each missed Ramadan fast.


In Ramadan, Muslims awaken before dawn, when the for an early meal called suhoor. Suhoor helps our physical health by providing the essential nutrition and strength to sustain our body during the long hours of the day.


At dusk, Muslims break their fast with a meal known as Iftar. It is considered to be a time for families to gather together and share a supper.


Eid ul-Fitr is determined by the visible sighting of the new crescent moon of Shawwal, therefor Eid occurs on the first day of Shawwal, which is the 10th month of the lunar calendar. Eid ul-Fitr lasts for three days. It is a day of thanksgiving and jubilation as it signifies the successful completion of the sacred month of Ramadan. Greet one another with the words ‘Eid Mubarak’ (Blessed Eid)” or ‘Eid Sa‘eed’ (Happy Eid)


Blast from the past – Like some other Ramadan traditions, the iftar cannon stands the test of time

Every nation and community develops a set of traditions and customs over the ages that come to symbolize the culture of the land. Kuwait too has its own unique Ramadan traditions that have been observed by generations of locals and residents of this country, and are a source of comfort and belonging. According to the Kuwait Times News, In Kuwait, the firing of the cannon attracts dozens of families and children daily, and is broadcast live on Kuwait TV and radio. The open yard in the palace where the ceremony takes place is set up to resemble pre-oil Kuwait, complete with vintage cars, artisans and children in traditional garb. The firing is conducted by three uniformed guards in red livery. A few of Kuwait's other rich Ramadan traditions have also stood the passage of time, continuously evolving to reflect changing social, economic and familial developments. Ramadan in Kuwait has its own set of distinctive customs and rituals kept alive by the people. The Kuwaiti people evoke the past with all its beautiful details, from the traditional costumes and dishes, to the special Ramadan celebrations held nowadays. Several Kuwaiti families continue with the custom of organizing these celebrations during this month, because of their delightful effect on the young and the adults alike. In spite of the progress of life and civilization, these Ramadan-related customs maintain their inherent traditional color. However, some people are of the view that these traditions have become very different from the past, as they have become more commercially oriented and little more than a means of distracting children and housewives and distancing them from the beloved traditions of the past. Interesting thing about the Kuwait tradition is that, in Kuwait children usually dress in traditional clothes and go around the neighborhood in groups holding small bags and singing special songs. Gergean is held on the 13th, 14th or the 15th of Ramadan when the moon is full. Gergean is somewhat like another version of Halloween, but without the scary part. Children go from one house to another and knock on neighbors, doors asking for candy and nuts, said citizen Mariam Jaffar in an interview to Arab News. (© Business Recorder, 2016)

Children’s Books about Ramadan & Eid

The White Nights of Ramadan by Maha Addasi. When Noor sees the almost-full moon rise in Kuwait, she knows it is time to prepare for Girgian, a mid-Ramadan celebration observed mostly in the Arabian Gulf states. Noor and her brothers make candy to share with the children in the neighborhood, and decorate canvas bags, hoping to fill them with treats when they go from house to house, dressed in traditional clothes. With engaging illustrations, The White Nights of Ramadan underlines the true meaning of Ramadan: Self-improvement, community and sharing. ~ Elementary School
Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story by Reem Faruqi. Lailah’s family recently moved to the US from Abu Dhabi. When Ramadan begins, she is excited to participate in the fasting for the first time but worried that her classmates won’t understand why she won’t be eating lunch with them. With help from the school librarian and her teacher, Lailah finds a way to overcome her fears and makes new friends who respect her beliefs. Beautifully illustrated with full-page watercolour pictures, Lailah’s Lunchbox is a gentle story about feeling different, friendship and faith. ~ Elementary School
My First Ramadan by Karen Katz. “Look! There is the new moon in the sky.” An adorable little Muslim boy is excited that Ramadan is about to begin. This year he wants to fast like the grown-ups! With simple words and colourful illustrations, My First Ramadan is a wonderful first introduction to Ramadan for the youngest readers. ~ Toddlers
It’s Ramadan, Curious George by H. A. Rey. George is excited to be celebrating Ramadan with his friend Kareem and his family. Together they make gift baskets to donate to those in need, enjoy the evening celebration and the special treats, and celebrate Eid at the end of Ramadan. It’s Ramadan, Curious George is a playful rhyming board book with fun tabs, perfect for all children who celebrate Ramadan, and for those who are learning about it for the first time! ~ Toddlers
Raihanna’s First Time Fasting by Qamaer Hassan. Raihanna’s First Time Fasting is a sweet story about a little girl’s first Ramadan. Little Raihanna learns the meaning of Ramadan, why her family fasts and how important it is to help her community whenever she can. Includes an activity page and a definition page. ~ Preschool
Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan. “Red is the rug / Dad kneels on to pray, / facing toward Mecca, / five times a day.” With the most stunning illustrations and simple, informative text, Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns is a wonderful introduction to the world of Islam, celebrating traditions like Ramadan and Eid.for even the youngest readers. ~ Preschool
Under the Ramadan Moon by Sylvia Whitman. “We wait for the moon. We watch for the moon. / We watch for the Ramadan moon.” With lyrical text and luminous pastel illustrations, Under the Ramadan Moon warmly depicts a Muslim family as they pray, fast and help those in need. Includes a detailed note about Ramadan. ~ Preschool
Once Upon a Ramadan by D.N. Hockey. Three siblings experience Ramadan together with their stuffed animals. When they bake cookies, Monkey, Puppy, and Fox get messy and need a bath. When they collect presents for children in need, Puppy falls asleep in the bag. In the end their mother is very proud of them: “Ramadan is about thinking of others and that is exactly what they did.” With bright illustrations and a playful storyline, Once Upon a Ramadan appeals to children everywhere. ~ Preschool
Ilyas & Duck & FANTASTIC FESTIVAL OF EID-AL-FITR by Omar Khawaja. “There is an Eid for every nation”. The book starts with this saying of the Prophet Muhammad, and thus dedicates some pages to two traditions of other major religions: Christmas and Hanukkah. Ilyas and Duck are preparing for Eid-al-Fitr to celebrate the end of Ramadan. Duck starts out by bringing a christmas tree and a menorah but Ilyas explains to him that those are for their Christian and Jewish friends’ celebrations. Ilyas & Duck: Fantastic Festival of Eid-al-Fitr is a delightful picture book about the fun and excitement of Eid. ~ Preschool
Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story by Hena Khan. A 7-year-old Pakistani American girl experiences the month of Ramadan with her family, from fasting to special meals, from distributing food at the mosque to celebrating The Night of the Moon and Eid. With rich illustrations in the style of Islamic art, Night of the Moon is a beautiful window into modern Muslim culture and its traditions. Includes glossary. ~ Elementary School
Zachariah’s Perfect Day by Farrah Qazi. Zachariah’s Perfect Day follows a 12-year-old Muslim boy through the first day of Ramadan. With colourful illustrations printed on a background of Islamic patterns, this beautiful book explains the traditional routines of Muslim families during Ramadan, from fasting and praying to preparing the Iftar meal and giving to those in need. Includes recipes for Parathas and Deep-Fried Oreos. ~ Elementary School
A Party in Ramadan by Asma Mobin-Uddin. Leena has a dilemma: Too young to fast each day, she decides to fast each Friday instead, but then she receives an invitation to a party that happens to fall on a Friday. Leena decides to go to the party, but not eat or drink. But watching her friends enjoy lemonade and cake is tough – will she be able to keep her fast? A Party in Ramadan is a charming story about a young Muslim girl wanting to do the right thing. ~ Elementary School.
Ramadan Moon by Na’ima Robert. The Holy Month of Ramadan begins with a whisper, a prayer and a wish. Written and illustrated by Muslims, Ramadan Moon is a lyrical and inspiring picture book that captures the wonder and joy of this special holiday from a child’s perspective.The enchanting story is complemented by appealing multimedia illustrations. ~ Preschool, Elementary School
Rashad’s Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr by Lisa Bullard. Rashad is the first one in his family to spot the new moon. He tries to be good the whole month of Ramadan, while learning about the many aspects of this special holiday. When it is time for Eid, he enjoys the celebrations together with his family. With detailed comment boxes, Rashad’s Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr is suitable children who don’t know much about Muslim faith and its traditions yet. ~ Elementary School
Moon Watchers: Shirin’s Ramadan Miracle by Reza Jalali. 9-year-old Shirin follows the stages of the moon throughout Ramadan. She desperately wants to fast like the rest of her Persian American family, including her older brother, and is thrilled when she is finally allowed to do so for half a day. When she discovers her smug brother secretly eating, she decides not to expose Ali but help him instead, acting in the true spirit of Ramadan. Moon Watchers is a moving and authentic story about traditions and sibling rivalry. ~ Elementary School
The Best Eid Ever by Asma Mobin-Uddin. Aneesha misses her parents who are in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj pilgrimage. Her grandmother cheers her up with a gift of gorgeous clothes from Pakistan, complete with matching bangles and handmade shoes, as well as with her favourite curried lamb dish. Meeting two girls at the prayer who had to flee their war-torn country, Aneesha realizes just how fortunate she is and helps make it The Best Ever for these girls. ~ Elementary School
The Last Night of Ramadan by Maissa Hamed. A young Muslim boy experiences the Holy Month of Ramadan and all the traditions associated with it. With simple text and unique, bright illustrations, The Last Night of Ramadan brings to life this important time of the yearly cycle for Muslims around the world is for children. ~ Elementary School.

Ramdan Activity Books

Engaging activity books that takes children on a fun journey through Ramadan.
Ramadan & Eid Vocabulary
  • Ramadan Mubaruk: Ramadan blessings
  • Sawm: is the Arabic word for fasting
  • Iftaar: Muslims break their fast with a meal known as Iftar
  • Suhoor: an early meal called suhoor
  • Eidiyyah: Relatives will give children Eidiyyah, which is a small sum of money that children will use to spend on activities throughout Eid
  • Eid Mubarak: Blessed Eid

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