In this lesson you’ll learn what Ramadan is and how Muslim families celebrate Ramadan. You’ll learn about the five pillars of Islam and how children can join in with the special month. You’ll find videos about Ramadan and Eid, and links to Ramadan crafts you can make.
What is Ramadan? lesson plan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic year and it’s a very special month for Muslims. It’s a holy month, with lots of traditions and celebration.
Ramadan lasts for around thirty days, and follows the lunar (moon) calendar. In 2018 is will begin on 15th May and end when the next crescent moon is spotting in the sky, most likely on 14th June.
The Five Pillars of Islam
Muslims have five special beliefs that they follow, called the five pillars of Islam. These are:
:: Shahada – which means living a Muslim life of faith and belief in Allah (God)
:: Salah – which means prayer
:: Zakat – which means looking after people in need and doing good work for charity
:: Sawm – which means being pure, including taking part in fasting during the month of Ramadan
:: Hajj – which means taking part in a pilgrimage, a special journey to Mecca, a holy city in Saudi Arabia
Do you belong to a particular religion? What are your important beliefs?
What do families do during Ramadan?
Muslim families around the world have many special traditions and activities during the holy month of Ramadan.
All adults (unless they are elderly, unwell, or pregnant) and some teenagers will spend the month fasting. They won’t eat any food from sunrise until sunset. Many children will join in for some of the fasting too. The fast begins after a meal called suhoor, and the fast is broken at night once the sun sets with a meal called iftar.
Dates are usually the first food eaten after sunset as tradition says that Muhammed, the founder of Islam, broke his fast by eating three dates.
Have you eaten dates? If not, you could try some. Do you like how they taste?
The meals eaten in the evening are a time for families, friends, and communities to come together. Many families have traditional recipes that they cook year after year, and which they might bring along to buffet-style community meals. These might include lamb kebabs, roast chicken, and rice pilaf. People look forward to the traditional Ramadan desserts too, including luqaimat (crunchy sweet dumplings), baklava (filo pastry filled with nuts and syrup or honey), and kunafa (cheese pastry soaked in honey).
What are your favourite festival foods?
Muslim families will spend time reading the Quran, and saying prayers during Ramadan.
They will also do lots of good deeds, helping friends and family and doing charity work in their community.
Ramadan is also a time to put up decorations to celebrate the festival and you will see lots of lanterns hanging up in city streets.
Listen to these children talking about why Ramadan is special to them.
At the end of the month of Ramadan the festival of Eid-al-Fitr is celebrated. This happens on the first day of the next month, Shawwal. When the crescent moon is spotted in the night sky Muslims know the month of Ramadan has ended and the festival of Eid can begin. It’s time for parties, gathering together with family and friends, giving presents, and celebrating.
Watch Sara as she tells you how her family celebrates.
What is the most important festival that your family celebrates? Do you do things that are similar to Sara’s family?
Give a Ramadan blessing
To wish someone a happy Ramadan you can say “Ramadan Mubarak!”
Do you know people celebrating Ramadan this year? Wish them Ramadan Mubarak!
More Ramadan activities to try