Muslim Mamas, Ramadan decorations?
A few years back, DH's Uncle brought us some Fanoozes (lanterns that kids use during Ramadan in Egypt)... and we usually put those on the mantle. Every night the kids take them down... play with them... and then we go outside to look at the moon.
We also read Ramadan stories.... one of our favorites is "The Ramadan Adventures of Fasfoose Mouse." Karen Katz did a cute Ramadan book either last year or the year before which I like...because it shows the diversity of the Muslim community.
We almost always make crescent moon and star sugar cookies and decorate them.
I also make varous other desserts.... there are these little filled pancakes that DH loves... then the whole variety of Arabic/ME sweets (baklava, basboosa, kunafa, etc.) Of course, I do American stuff too, because it's easier for me...and to be honest, I like it better.
Oh, we've done a variety of Ramadan/Eid countdown calendars too. That might be a nice tradition to start.
I bought some shiny garland to hang in the doorway (I don't feel like plugging and unplugging lights all month). I bought some construction paper, and I plan to make an Islamic and Gregorian countdown calendar. I'll let DS put a sticker on each day as we break our fast. I planned to write some verses related to Ramadan on the contruction paper and put them on the wall. I found some moon and star cut-outs at the dollar store. He's only 2, and this stuff won't phase him, but I want to start getting him familiar, and excited about Ramadan.
It's so nice to know that there are other Muslim moms on mothering.com
I am an American convert to Islam and a relatively new mom - My son will be 18 months in Ramadan inshallah.
I really want to make Ramadan special and make our home feel special this Ramadan... on a limited budget.
My plan is twinkle lights, a banner that says Happy Ramadan or Ramadan Kareem, and maybe streamers. I love your idea about putting the Quran verses up - that is a great way to decorate plus stay focused on the whole point of the month. I also think its great having candles lit in the evening. There's a cute photo for making a Ramadan lantern with your son on this site: http://herbnites.tripod.com/islamicwaldorfschoolonline/
That might be a fun way to decorate.
Also its nice to have little bowls of dates or turkish delights...lol but it might temp you during the day if you're fasting.
For Eid, I want to have balloons and gifts wrapped in shiny paper
UmSami - do you know a good place where I can find recipes for the traditional arabic desserts? I want to make some this year but dont know how.
So happy to find you ladies on Mothering.com!
WS. I have to admit, that I rely heavily on the Internet and various Middle Eastern cookbooks to make my sweets. My MIL showed me how to make kunafa (shredded phyllo dough) with cream... and I've watched her make both savory and sweet gollash/baklava.
For pretty much any Arabic-style dessert, you first need to make a sugar syrup. The rules are usually that you want the syrup to be the opposite of the pastry... so either cold pastry with hot syrup... or (what I find easier) hot pastry with cold syrup. In Ramadan, I'll usually make a big batch and keep it in the fridge. Basically, the ratio I use is about 1-1/2 cups of sugar to 1 cup of water.... but I've also used a 1:1 ratio fine. I always squeeze in a bit of lemon juice.... and then near the end I either add in some vanilla extract (or boil with a vanilla bean). More traditional would be to use rose water, but I just don't like it to be honest.
For baklava, I sort of follow Alton Brown's recipe because I find the extra layers of nuts really yummy. I don't always use a mixture of nuts, though...a lot of times it's just walnuts.
For Kunafa, I start by making a vanilla custard. You can either make it from scratch (like with this recipe) or you can "cheat" by using Vanilla Jell-o pudding and following the pie-filling directions. Both are good IMHO. Then you want to melt two sticks of butter and mix it with the shredded dough. Put half into a pan.... and then put whatever filling you want (pastry cream, cheese, nuts) in the middle...and top with the rest of the dough mixed with butter. For cheese, the traditional is an Arabic cheese, but I've heard of people using both fresh mozzarella or ricotta here. You can mix it with a little sugar/cinnamon too. For nuts, you want chopped nuts mixed with a few T of sugar and some cinnamon. Then bake at 350-375 until golden..about 40-45 minutes in my oven.
I'll have to get out some of my cookbooks for basboosa and the pancakes. I'll try and do that either later tonight or first thing tomorrow. This sort of looks similar to a recipe I use... but I seem to remember no heavy cream and using yogurt in the cake. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/me...SBOUSA-1242900 Also, you need to decorate the top with almonds. This looks more like it... http://www.wasfasahla.com/cooking_re...5&recipeId=334
Here's a recipe for the Qatayef (pancakes)... http://arabicfood.suite101.com/artic...licious_atayef I read somewhere that some people just use Bisquick to make the pancakes and only cook them on one side. I seem to have a problem with overcooking my pancakes, so they don't stick together well enough... but it doesn't usually matter... we eat them anyway
Over the years of being Muslim (11 or 12 years now) I've developed some nice traditions for us, and try to create new activities each year, too!
We have a Ramadan advent calendar that comes out each year. Each day the kids get a sweet and a little note that has an age-appropriate teaching on it (so when the kids are very little, it would just be things like "Allah loves you so much!", "Muslims should always try to share", "the Qur'an is our holy book" etc, and then get more detailed as they got older). We have decorations, too. Getting the kids to make paper flags on a string is a pretty and easy decoration. Use coloured paper to make different coloured flags, then write "R" on one, "A" on the next, etc, until you have the word "Ramadan" or "Ramadan Mubarak" or whatever you like, and then you can attach them to some yarn (either with tape, or wooden pegs can look elegant, too). Balloons are also fun, cheap and handy. I write "Ramadan Mubarak!" and "Happy Ramadan!" on them with permanent marker. I make sure we put some of our paper flags on our front door so we look like a "celebrating house".
We make star and moon cookies for neighbours and friends, and give them to non-Muslim friends, too, with a little (explanatory but non-preachy, as that wouldn't go down well where we live) note about Ramadan. I try to ensure we have iftars with people who have kids my kids get on well with as often as possible, as the socialising is just as important for them as it is for us, and adds to the joy of Ramadan.
And this year, I talked about setting some Ramadan Goals with my daughter (our oldest child). I explained the concept and why it can be important and useful, and then let her come up with her own (she's only 7), which she can write down and stick up somewhere if she likes (I also told her it was okay if she wanted to keep her goals just between her and Allah if she preferred, and talked about asking Allah to help us with our goals. I also shared my goals with her, so she can see that grownups need to keep trying to improve themselves, too). She said her goals are to pray at least 2 rakats of tarawih each day, to learn some more Qur'an and to fast from breakfast to recess each day (LOL). I think these are good, as I said they should be goals we would be proud of if we managed to achieve, but shouldn't be so hard that we'd be discouraged if we couldn't achieve it.
Lastly, I teach at a Saturday madrassah, and we're going to be doing fun ramadan crafts each week there, too, inshaAllah. We're going to make sadaqa boxes one week (good to show about Ramadan not just being about "us" but about helping, etc) as well as paper lanterns, etc.
I also just try to model good Ramadan behaviour myself, such as genuinely being positive and excited about the month coming, trying not to complain when I have a headache or am tired or hungry, and not freaking out when I have lots of people to cook for! And also trying to increase my ibadah in a way they can see (extra Qur'an, tarawih, etc), without trumpeting it. Playing Ramadan nasheeds (such as Dawud Wharnsby Ali's song) is also fun.
Ramadan starts here in a few hours inshaAllah and I'm looking forward to it. Aiming for a peaceful, fulfilling Ramadan. Praying for you all to have that, too!
Be sure to download the free Ramadan magazine as well! It's under the "welcome ramadan" post, but you can just view it from here, also:
I love this site, and love this woman (she's a friend of mine and I want to be her when I grow up )
Ramadan Kareem! I found some nice unique decorations on bay under Ramadan decoration....I purchased the large crescent moon..it was $39.99 it's absolutely magnificent, all my friends are getting one, also I got nice three tiered crescent moons and light up Ramadan sign...so cute!!!!
I have been *really bad* about doing anything the last couple years. :( I think it was 2 years ago, yeah the 2 year old was a baby, that I got really sick while fasting...since then, I've been pregnant and/or nursing and haven't tried again. Hubby worked a job with really strange hours and was not around for iftar, which was always my favorite part to share. The year I was pregnant with the 2 year old, my dad passed away right before Ramadan and we moved during, my mom moved in with us, my grandmother who I adored became ill and passed right after my 2 year old was born...that year was insane around that time, so much so that I didn't think at all about decorating our new place or potlucks at the masjid or any of that.
So now, with the 'moving year' being 3 years ago, the 'sick year' was 2 years ago, last year I was pregnant and hubby was still working the strange job...finally this year, he is on different hours and we are together in the evenings. My oldest I don't think really remembers the Ramadan times where we *did* go to the masjid and all that. :( Oh and the masjid we used to go to moved locations and didn't have things ready for a long time--basically a room to pray, no women's bathrooms, nowhere to do any activities or anything like that. at least now I know someone to call and find out what is going on...we'll add that to a list of things to do.
I know my son doesn't remember back before he was 4 years old when we used to go....he is almost 7 now. I *know* my daughter does not remember, she's now 4.5...that makes me want to cry. :(
But this year, we have made some Ramadan Mubarak signs. I bought some lights, we'll get those up. I'm going to actually buy the crescent moon cookie cutters, and we are going to do this. :) Unfortunately, I was waiting around for DH to take some initiative....his response has been that people here don't celebrate like home....well, I'm of the mindset that that's WHY WE NEED to do it.\
Ramadan Mubarak! It's going to be a good one this year.
I have a fabric calendar with squares of felt glued on like pockets. They're numbered one for everyday of Ramadan. Each night after looking for the moon, by kids would put Zakat al fitr in the pocket...any coins they earned for chores during the day. At the end of the month they deposit the coins in the collection box at the mosque to pay their Zakat al fitr.