Every year when Eid-ul-Fitr is just around the corner, children start talking about the celebrations in their friends circle or on social media in their group chats. But then they’re hit with the question, “What is Eid?”
How do you think your child would respond?
Helping their non-Muslim friends understand Eid using phrases that relate to them is a great way to let their friends know about Islam. However, the way we word our sentences and the way we allow our children to word such sentences could potentially affect the mentality of your child.
We do not want our children to associate another religion’s festival with Eid. We do not want to associate Eid with a festival from another religion, which is believing in an entity other than Allah. This also leads to comparing and contrasting Eid and Christmas, which are celebrated entirely differently. The last thing we want our children to do is to start celebrating Eid like Christmas and this could include having an “Eid Tree” in the home.
So, how do we help our children answer the question “What is Eid?” while making sure they stick to their faith?
1. Rephrase the Answer
We need to educate our children early on to help them define what Eid is for their friends. Something like, “Eid is a festive occasion for Muslims after we fast for the month of Ramadan”.
This helps to not associate Eid with Christmas, and it's worded in a simple manner that makes it easy for the other person to understand.
Don’t let your children be confused by the Christmas lights all over the city in December. You can decorate your home even more beautifully.
2. It’s important to set boundaries with festivals
Just as it's not okay to let our children mentally associate Eid with another religion, it's not okay to allow them to attend Christmas parties or any Christmas celebrations.
There is no problem with letting children hang out with each other and have a good time. But Christmas is different because it is a religious holiday.
Having these boundaries set up now will help children differentiate between both religions more clearly.
3. Have Fun on Eid - it's Eid!
Eid in a Muslim country or culture is always a different ball game. With friends, family and endless houses to visit on Eid day, while endless bowls of seviyan or other local desserts are served. In Canada and the U.S., it may be a bit different. But that doesn't mean it can’t be exciting.
Wear new and festive clothes, pray the Eid prayer at home in natural sunlight, play family games or even just talk to each other on the breakfast table. And to make Eid even more exciting, giving gifts to family and even neighbours around you is beautiful. After all, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him said that giving gifts builds love between people (Tirmidhi).
Don’t let lockdowns take away the fun from Eid. Dressing up, having a clean and decorated home with delicious food and Eid Khutbahs...oh and not to forget gifts and games, is the best and most beautiful way to celebrate Eid.
Cut the children some slack on this day and let them have fun as much as they’d like to. It’s Eid after all!