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Early Years Calendar: Celebrating Eid ul-Fitr

Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th May 2021

Following the month of Ramadan (if you haven’t already, take a look at That Nursery Life’s article, What is Ramadan?), Eid ul-Fitr is a three-day celebration. The event marks the end of Ramadan and the start of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar. In 2021, Eid ul-Fitr will begin on the evening of Wednesday 12th May and end in the evening of Thursday 13th May.

During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating or drinking during daytime (waking up early to eat before the sun rises and going to bed late so they can eat once the sun has set. The reason Muslims fast is to remind themselves of the suffering of those less fortunate than them, and makes them appreciate all the nice things in life that they believe Allah has given them – including food!

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Directly translated, ‘Eid ul-Fitr’ means ‘the festival of breaking the fast’, as most Muslims will have spent the previous month fasting during the day. It is a chance for Muslims to come together with friends and family, put on their best clothes, give gifts and celebrate their hard month of abstinence and dedication to Allah.

There are a number of important rituals that must take place before the Eid ul-Fitr festivities can take place. These include:

  • Prayers with family at dawn, called ‘Fajr’.
  • Cleaning the whole body, called ‘ghusl’ cleansing.
  • Wearing best clothes.
  • Wishing friends, family and the community ‘Eid Mubarak’, the traditional Eid greeting, at the local mosque.
  • A charity donation, distributed amongst the neediest people in the community so they can take part in the festivities, called ‘Zakat ul-Fitr’.

When these rituals are done, the celebrations can take place! Eid ul-Fitr celebration services are held in mosques and outdoors. Sometimes Muslims parade through the streets to celebrate, and a special meal is eaten – the first time Muslims will have eaten in the daytime for a whole month. It is a time for families, friends and neighbours to spend time together and share food.

Eid al-Fitr is also sometimes referred to as the Sugar Feast, a nod to the fact that a large constituent part of the meal one eats at the festival is desserts!

Why not celebrate Eid ul-Fitr with your little ones by making some yummy sweet treats, such as tahini and chocolate dates?

Photo by Mona Mok on Unsplash

Tahini and Chocolate Dates Recipe

What you need:

  • 20 medjool dates, pitted
  • 200g dark chocolate (check the brand to make sure it is halal, if you aren’t sure then https://www.foodguide.org.uk/ is a good resource)
  • 3 tbsp light tahini
  • 4 tbsp chopped pistachios
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • Small piping bag (or plastic food bag with a corner chopped off)
  • Baking tray
  • Freezer
  • Microwaveable bowl
  • Microwave
  • Mixing spoon or spatula
  • Cocktail sticks

Method:

  1. Help the children break the chocolate into small pieces and place in the microwaveable bowl.
  2. Using the piping bag, enable children to squeeze a little (you only need a tiny bit!) tahini into the middle of each date, before placing them on the baking tray.
  3. Place the baking tray into the freezer for 20-30 minutes so the tahini sets in the dates.
  4. While the dates are cooling, melt the chocolate in the microwave, alternating between 30-second bursts and then mixing to ensure it doesn’t burn.
  5. When the chocolate is melted, bring the dates out of the freezer and encourage the children to use the cocktail sticks to pick up the dates and dip them in chocolate, before returning to the baking tray.
  6. Before the chocolate hardens, help the children sprinkle pistachios over the dates. Once the chocolate is firm, tuck in!

Are you holding Eid ul-Fitr celebrations in your setting? Get in touch on the That Nursery Life socials - we’d love to hear what you’ve been up to!