Sunday, June 2, 2019

May 26 and June 2, 2019 - Curiosity and Beauty: An Exploration of Ramadan


Dear Parents and Caregivers, 

We've had a fabulous couple of Spiritual Exploration sessions with the kids, exploring the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.  A perfect fit with Curiosity as our May worship theme, the kids had lots of questions about it.  Many from last Sunday were good teachers to the new kids there today!  Many thanks to all the LSE volunteers and Community Lunch assistants too.

Main takeaways: 
Children will understand the basics of what Ramadan and Eid are.  (See below for the basics.). 
  • Last Sunday they read the book, My First Ramadan.  
  • We tasted dates, which is often the first thing Muslims end their fast with each day. 
  • Many children decorated table tents with basic facts about Ramadan for the Community Lunch tables at church.  Some of you took some home last week.  
  • This Sunday we read a funny book called Nabeel's New Pants: An End Tale, available at KHLibrary.  
Children will associate Ramadan with community service and giving to the poor.  
  • Since part of fasting is to build empathy for those without food ALL year, las week we husked corn for the Community Lunch. The kids did an awesome job and were totally engaged and proud of what they did.  
  • Today we talked about the Muslim tradition of Zakat ("zuh-KAHT ") of giving money to the poor, following the belief that all that we have is from Allah/God and not really ours, but ours to share with others.  We made collection jars for families who wish to to start a tradition of collecting spare change.  When the jar is full, decide as a family on groups you might want to give money to.  Examples include:   Good Samaritan Haven, Vermont Foodbank, UCM Community Lunch
In that spirit of Eid--a time of celebration and generosity and June’s theme, “What does it mean to be a people of Beauty?” we sent your child/ren home with a marigold, which--like each of them--will grow and spread beauty over the coming summer.  Marigolds thrive anywhere, and if possible would love to get put in the ground today!

  • Children start fasting for Ramadan around age 7 or 8.  Would you want to try out fasting for just two or three days your first year or more?  
  • Where should we put the family Collection Jar so we remember to put spare change in it?  
  • What was the funny part about Nabeel's pants that were too long for him to where at the Eid festivities?  
  • Plant your marigold and notice how the Beauty spreads over the season!

If you like, watch couple short videos on Ramadan:

1. An animated music video telling children the basics of Ramadan Moon by Yusuf Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens)

2. How to be an Ally during Ramadan -- more for older kids or adults, but great images of people observing Ramadan

You could join in the Islamic Center of Vermont's monthly Community Supper, open to all. Next church year, our middle school curriculum for 6th-8th graders will be Crossing Paths, which includes a visit to the Islamic Society of Vermont.   

Basics for the whole family to know about Ramadan:

Who: Muslims around the world.  Muslims are people following the religion called Islam.  1 out of 4 people in the world is a Muslim.  
What: Ramadan is a 30 day Muslim holy month that follows the lunar calendar.  
Where: Wherever Muslims live, with the highest concentration in the Middle East, but there are some Muslims in every country in the world!
When: This year it's May 5-June 4th.  When Ramadan ends, it begins a 2-3 day festival called Eid, which includes going to the mosque, dressing up, sharing delicious food and giving gifts.  
​Why: Muslim's believe this is the month, 1400 years ago, when the prophet Mohammad first received the words of Allah (God) which form the first chapters of the Quran.  
How: Most Muslims observe Ramadan in the following ways: fasting (no food or water) from sunrise to sunset with some exceptions (young children, nursing / pregnant mothers​, the sick or very elderly, etc.), spending time with family, praying, and going to Mosque.  Ramadan is a time to be introspective, reading the Islamic holy book of the Quran, and to focus time and money on those who are poor or sick.  

Thanks for sharing in the exploration of Ramadan with us!

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