Celebrating Eid al-Adha 2021 in the Early Years
Eid al-Adha usually takes place between the 10th to 13th days of the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijah, the ‘month of the Pilgrimage’. This year Eid al-Adha is expected to fall on sundown of July 19th ending at sundown on July 20th.
The commemorative date is held to acknowledge and pay tribute to the Prophet Ibrahim sacrificing his son, demonstrating his willingness to God. There are many ways young children can get involved with celebrating this religious date; here are some of That Nursery Life’s top suggestions:
Learn about Prayer
Children should learn about other cultures and religions and be taught how to be respectful towards them. Prayer is a large part of Eid al-Adha and, while children outside of the Muslim religion are not expected to pray, they can certainly learn about it. Showing them images or books displaying how and where different religions pray can be an eye-opening experience for young children. They do not need to follow any form of religion, or may already follow a different one, but they should still be taught about diversity and beliefs in a fair and thoughtful way.
Have a Meat Feast
On this day Muslims traditionally purchase cows and sheep to be sacrificed for Eid al-Adha, but of course this would be highly inappropriate for children at nursery! Instead, an array of cold meats such as chicken, various hams, pastrami, or corned beef can be provided for children to enjoy or even try for the first time, making it a food-tasting activity. Dietary preferences should be considered; for example, if the setting cares for vegetarians, vegans or Muslims who do not eat pork, provide alternatives such as Quorn or tofu.
Muslims usually wear their finest traditional clothes to celebrate Eid al-Adha, so why not host a ‘dress up’ day? Children could wear their favourite smart clothes - be it a sparkly dress, a bow tie or even a fancy dress costume. Some parents may be averse to sending children to nursery in their fanciest attire, so allowing the children to choose what they want to wear provides more options while embracing their individuality and acknowledging why Muslims dress traditionally. Finding photos of traditional Muslim garments to show the children is also a great idea.
Raise Money for Charity
As the occasion remembers the sacrifice given, people are encouraged to give thanks and be grateful for what they have, offering a donation to those in need. It is common for money to be given to charity so the poor can also celebrate Eid al-Adha. There are many ways to raise money for charity - children can be sponsored to dress up, bake sales can be held, or children can take part in a sponsored silence or other activities.
As well as giving to charity, children can also be supported to give gifts to their friends or family. This could take the form of bringing in a gift for a friend or making something in nursery to give to a family member at home. Practitioners can also bring in gifts for the children to ensure no one misses out, such as colouring/reading books, small bags of sweets or even toys, such as those often found in party bags.
Share your experiences of how your setting celebrated Eid al-Adha this year using the hashtag #mynurserylife on social media.