Toddler Thursday: What’s Your Religious Holiday? We Call Ours “Eid”

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Categories Diversity, Holidays, Parenting, Religion, Toddler ThursdayTags , , , 4 Comments

How to get toddlers involved and excited about a holiday when you are strung out from months of lack of sleep, the twins can’t stay up past 7:30 p.m., and are too little to really understand anyway?

First, some background on this holiday I’m talking about. Last week, millions of people across North America celebrated Eid-Ul-Fitr to mark the end of Ramadan, a month of daily fasting. There are two Eid holidays that occur within a few months of each other. The second one, Eid-Ul-Adha, marks the pilgrimmage to Mecca which millions of faithful followers perform each year.

These days, many Muslim families with young children are looking for ways to adapt the customs and rituals of Eid celebrations from “back home” and adding a North American twist.

Eid is usually celebrated by dressing in new clothes, going to early morning community prayers, visiting friends and neighbours, and noshing on delicious spreads of sweet, salty, and fried foods that you normally wouldn’t eat all in the same day! Growing up, the excitement of Eid was always in dressing up in cultural clothes, going to “Open Houses” where the aforementioned food would be laid out, and getting small amounts of cash in envelopes from older relatives and family friends, called an “Eidee”.

The first couple of Eids we dressed our little ones up in cute outfits, skipped the community prayer due to it being a logistical nightmare, and instead visited close family for lunch and dinner. When they became toddlers, I searched online for trendy, printable decorations to hang up on our fireplace to make things festive. They were only 2.5 years old that summer, but old enough to get excited about parties and Christmas. I found some adorable, free printables for Ramadan and Eid banners at Sakina Design.

Our first EId banner
“Eid Mubarak” (Happy Eid)

For the stairs, I wrapped thick, multi-coloured ribbon from Michaels around as you would tinsel. And of course, there were the gold star decorations which I bought from Christmas clearances past. (Anyone else buy shiny Christmas decorations and use them for other holidays?) When Mister and Missy came home, their reaction was “Wow, niiice” and “Star!” By the next day they didn’t take notice.

For Eid Year 3, I invested in some Eid-inspired cookie cutters from an online Ramadan and Eid decoration store called Eidway. They come in the shape of a five- and eight-point stars, moon crescent, lantern, and mosque, which are all recognizable symbols of the faith.

Eid and Ramadan cookie cutters by Eidway
Unique cookie cutters shapes by Eidway

Since Mister and Missy were experienced play dough shapers, they loved making shapes with the cookie cutters.

Twin Bakers hard at work
Twin Bakers hard at work
Mastering the cookie at three years old
Mastering the cookie at three years old

This year now that the twins are four and a half years old, Mister and Missy were very excited about making Eid cookies. The only problem was, lack of time! Although they are off school since it’s summer, we are still working full-time, and it’s been hard to find enough time (and energy!) to start the four step process of making the dough, rolling and doing the shapes, baking the cookies, then decorating. It took us a few days, but we managed to hold a few sessions of cookie cutting and decorating. All for four cookies which they get to eat all by themselves. (the rest I set aside and decorated for friends and family)

Other things I had planned which I didn’t get to do was make sheer korma (traditional sweet vermicelli in sweet milk dessert), make cookies for more neighbours, put up more Eid decorations including lights, and doing some craft activities. Oh well there’s always next Eid!

How have you incorporated a unique holiday or celebration into your family lives? What new traditions have you started (or are thinking about starting) as your children get older?

Ambereen is a proud Canadian-Muslim MoM of 4 year old BG twins. She is already making plans for fun activities to do with the kids for the next religious holiday. You can find her blogging at 2CuteBlog.

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Elf on the Shelf: Why We Don’t Participate

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Categories Christianity, Holidays, Infants, ToddlersTags , , , , , 6 Comments
   A picture of us, the stick-figure family, at a Christmas light show. 

Growing up, my Decembers were filled with family Christmas parties, Christmas lights,candy canes, homemade glittery sweaters made by my Great-Grandma C, decorating sugar cookies, hand-print paintings of wreaths and reindeer, the Christmas parade down the local boulevard, Christmas trees, homemade tamales by my other Great-Grandma C, singing Christmas carols, attending a Christmas Eve candlelight service, doing gift exchanges, lots of shopping, watching Christmas movies galore, and more. I didn’t have the Elf on the Shelf and, here’s a shocker (or maybe not), neither will my children.

I don’t know much about Elf on the Shelf,  so I had to look up what it was all about and I found on their official website that “The Elf on the Shelf® is a special scout elf sent from the North Pole to help Santa Claus manage his naughty and nice lists. When a family adopts an elf and gives it a name, the elf receives its Christmas magic and can fly to the North Pole each night to tell Santa Claus about all of the day’s adventures. Each morning, the elf returns to its family and perches in a different place to watch the fun. Children love to wake up and race around the house looking for their elf each morning.- Elf on the Shelf“.

First off, let me quickly say, that my children are young (I have a 2-1/2 year old little boy and 10 month old twin girls) and right now, they have no idea what Elf on the Shelf is. When they do get old enough, it’s just another thing to take care of when the kids go to bed and… I don’t have time for that.

Most importantly, for me and my home, Jesus is the reason for the season. We know that Jesus forgives our naughty sins when we ask for forgiveness. Jesus doesn’t keep tabs. And quite frankly, I don’t want want to teach my kids that Santa does and then emphasize the Naughty or Nice list.

We try to parent with Jesus in mind, with unconditional love, grace, and mercy. And Elf on the Shelf doesn’t really fall in line with those values.

But, that doesn’t keep me from laughing aloud at the pictures of all the mischievous Elves my friends have “adopted.”

Nadia Cakes
              An elf behind the glass eating a cupcake at a local bakery.

I have a tendency of eating my words. But, this one, I am sure is a “for sure” kind of thing.

(For the record, my children are allowed to believe in Santa as long as they want to. I think it builds their imagination. But, it is mine and my husband’s job, to ensure that our children know that Christmas is about Christ; and that Christ is not just about Christmas.)

Kayla at Chasing a Daredevil and Twins

Kayla is a wife to her best friend and a full-time mother to her two-year-old Daredevil and her ten-month-old twin girls. Kayla draws stick figures and blogs about motherhood and other meaningful life experiences at Chasing a Daredevil and Twins. She also lives on the edge by undertaking new adventures, her latest of which is raising chickens. Connect with Kayla on Facebook and on her blog

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