Eid is the Arabic word for festivity. There are two important Eids in the Islamic calendar - the smaller Eid al-Fitr is at the end of Ramadan, and the greater Eid al-Adha. Children are very important in the Muslim world and there are lots of activities for them to take part in. Just as there are different Muslim communities all over the world, there are different ways of celebrating Eid for children. It is a time of prayer, feasting, gift-giving and charity.
This smaller Eid happens at the very end of Ramadan. Fasting is over and symbolised by having a special Eid breakfast, usually accompanied by dates. It is usual for the entire family to attend a special communal prayer that will be held in an open space such as a field, community centre or mosque. Activities for children are incorporated into the family-centric celebration.
The central theme of this festival is to remember Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son. Traditionally, a household will slaughter a domestic animal and divide it into thirds - one for themselves, one for relatives, and one part to go to poorer families in the community. Families may instead donate money to a charity that will distribute meat to families in need.
Children receive new clothes on the first day to wear, traditionally white in colour. At the large family parties of this festivals, children are also entertained with different games from traditional ones such as a calligraphy competition, interesting Islamic adaptations such as Muslim Charades acting out scenes from religious texts, to modern games such as Twister.
Eid al-Adha - Communal Activities
The day starts also with an Eid congregational prayer. A special Eid lunch or dinner may also be hosted at the mosque. Young people can be involved in helping set up and clean up after these events. The local market is usually also a centre point for festivities, where families go to shop and also take part in organised festivities, including games for children. There are also special Eid fairs and carnivals in many places with dancing, puppeteers, clowns, rides and different game stalls. Large public celebrations also include special concerts or sports competitions.
Handmade greeting cards for Eid are a creative way for children to get involved. You can also make and decorate paper Eid lanterns to decorate the house with. You could also do an activity based on the custom of getting artistic henna decorations.
Another good idea is to get busy in the kitchen as food is a central element of these festivals. Children can help make cookies, and wrap them up into little packages to give to others. Another theme from this holiday is charity to those less fortunate than us. Encourage children to think of ways they can help others, from going through old toys and clothes to donate to organising a food drive for a local food bank.