The Junior Age

Category: Festivals

Everything You Need To Know About Ramadan

Written By Vansh Goel

School : Heritage Xperiential Learning School Gurugram

The holy month of Ramadan is a very important time in the Islamic calendar. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Ramadan marks the time when prophet Muhammad received the words of the Qur’an. It is believed that prophet Muhammad was visited by an angel called Jibril (or Gabriel in English) who revealed to him the first words of the Qur’an. The Qur’an is the holy book of the Muslims. Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad is the last prophet, who received the teachings of Allah and who spread the Islamic faith.

Also read, Discover Ramadan: Best 10 Ramadan Books for Young Readers

The dates for Ramadan change every year as it is observed based on the lunar calendar. This year Ramadan started on March 10 and will end on April 9.

What Is Ramadan? 

During this Holy month, Muslims do not eat or drink between dawn and sunset. This is called fasting. Fasting is important during Ramadan. The 27th night of Ramadan is celebrated as the Night of Power, or Laylat al-Qadr. On that night, it is said, God revealed the Qur’an, and Muslims spend extra hours in prayer. During Ramadan, Muslims also pray, do good deeds, and spend time with family and friends.

During Ramadan, Muslims have a meal at sunrise called Suhoor which means ‘of the dawn’. They then have a meal after sunset called Iftar which means ‘break of the fast’.

Eid Al-Fitr 

Ramadan officially ends when the religious officials first see the new moon. The end of Ramadan is celebrated with a big celebration called ‘Eid al-Fitr Eid al-Fitr is the ‘Festival of Breaking the Fast During Eid al-Fitr, Muslims see their family, give gifts, and give thanks to their god, Allah.

Did You Know? 

Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, the core beliefs of the Muslim faith. The other four pillars are prayer, faith, charity, and pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.

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Fascinating Facts About Easter

When And How Is Easter Celebrated?

Easter is one of the most important Christian festivals and is celebrated by many people across the world. Easter can be celebrated anytime between March 22 and April 25, as it is based on the lunar calendar. Easter falls on a Sunday after the first full moon following March 21. This year Easter will be celebrated on March 31.

Also read, Easter Traditions Around The World

What is Good Friday celebrated for?

Easter celebrations take place on multiple days, each remembering a particular event in Jesus’ life. On Good Friday, Christians remember the day that. Jesus was crucified and died on a wooden cross. Good Friday is a day of mourning in the Church.

When Is Easter Sunday And How Is Easter’s Date Determined?

After his death, Jesus was buried in a tomb and a massive boulder was placed in front of it. His tomb was heavily guarded by Roman troops. Two days later (on the Sunday), Jesus’ tomb was visited by a woman called Mary Magdalene and some of his followers. To their amazement, they found the boulder pushed away and the tomb empty. Later that day, they found Jesus alive, and realised that God had brought him back to life. This is why Christians celebrate Easter Sunday.

Popular Easter Traditions

When we think of Easter, we immediately think about eggs, more specifically chocolate eggs! But do you know how eggs came to be associated with Easter?

Early Christians in the region then known as Mesopotamia would exchange chicken eggs with one another as a symbol of the day Jesus was reborn. Eggs represent new life when Jesus rose from the dead which is why the symbol is used to mark the occasion. It is also believed that the tradition of chocolate eggs started in France and Germany in the 19th century.

The Easter bunny is also a very important symbol of Easter. Many people believe that the tradition of the Easter bunny started in Germany.

Did You Know?

Mesopotamia is now the region of Iraq and Syria.

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Everything You Need To Know About Holi

Colourful Celebration Of Holi 

Holi is celebrated by millions of people all around the world. It is the festival of colours and spring! Holi is a two day festival and it celebrates the Hindu god Krishna and the legend of Holika and Prahlad. The story of Holika and Prahlad symbolises the victory of good over evil.

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When Is Holi Celebrated? 

The exact date of Holi changes every year. This year Holi will be celebrated on March 24 and March 25. Holi is celebrated on the day of the last full moon in the lunar month of Phalguna.

The Stories Of Holi 

Holi has been celebrated in India for hundreds of years. Several stories explain the festival’s origin.

According to one popular legend, demon king Hiranyakashipu became very angry with his son Prahlada who was devoted to Lord Vishnu instead of him. The demon king asked his demon sister Holika to kill Prahlada. Since Holika was resistant to fire, she sat with Prahlada on wood set on fire. Due to his unwavering devotion to Lord Vishnu, he was safe and Holika got burnt Hiranyakashipu was then killed by Lord Vishnu in the form of a lion man.

Many modern Holi celebrations begin with a bonfire that represents the burning of Holika. Holi is also associated with Lord Krishna. Playing holi with colours is a reflection of the love between Lord Krishna and Radha.

How Is Holi Celebrated?

Typically Holi celebrations start with Holika Dahan. On this night, people light a bonfire, dance, sing, and perform rituals. The next morning people celebrate Holi by throwing colours (traditionally known as gulal) and water on one another.

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Discover Ramadan: Best 10 Ramadan Books for Young Readers

Muslims all over the world observe Ramadan. Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. It is a special time for spiritual reflection, fasting, prayer, and community. For families observing Ramadan, it’s an opportunity to teach children about the significance of this sacred month and its traditions. One effective way to educate and engage children during Ramadan is through books tailored to their age and understanding. 

Also read, Interesting Facts About Ramadan

Here is the list of Best 10 Ramadan Books for Children –

1. Ramadan: The Month of Shukr

By Sidra Hashmani (Tertib Publishing)

Reading age : 2 to 6 years

2. Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors (A Muslim Book Of Concepts)

By Hena Khan and Mehrdokht Amini(Chronicle Books)

Reading age : 2 to 4 years

3. It’s Ramadan, Curious George

By H. A. Rey and Hena Khan (Clarion Books)

Reading age : 2 to 6 years

4. Other Words for Home

By Jasmine Warga (Balzer + Bray)

Reading age : 4 to 7 years

5. Moon’s Ramadan

by Natasha Khan Kazi (Author, Illustrator)

Reading age : 4 to 8 years

6. My First Ramadan (My First Holiday)

by Karen Katz

Reading age : 2 to 4 years

7. Celebrate Ramadan

by Hannah Eliot (Author), Rashin Kheiriyeh (Illustrator)

Reading age : 2 to 4 years

8. Hannah and the Ramadan Gift 

by Qasim Rashid (Author), Aaliya Jaleel (Illustrator)

Reading age : 3 to 7 years

9. Tell me more about Ramadan

by Bachar Karroum (Author), Tanja Varcelija

Reading age : 3 to 8 years

10. The Gift of Ramadan

by Rabiah York Lumbard (Author), Laura K. Horton

Reading age : 5 to 6 years

These Top 10 Ramadan books for children offer valuable insights into the traditions, rituals, and significance of the holiest month in Islam. Whether through delightful stories, vibrant illustrations, or informative texts, these books provide engaging ways for children to learn about and celebrate Ramadan. By sharing these books with young readers, families can foster understanding, empathy, and appreciation for the diversity of Muslim culture and traditions.

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Popular Christmas Traditions and Their Origins

Where Did Advent Calendars Originate?

In the mid 1800s, the advent calendars started in Germany, when people marked the countdown to Christmas with chalk marks on doors or by lighting a candle. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that paper calendars were made and the idea spread around the world. Initially, advent calendars were illustrated with images from the Bible. Advent calendars are used from December 1 until Christmas Day.

Did You Know?

Advent is a Latin word meaning “the coming”. It was officially established by the church in the 6th century.

Also Read, Why Do We Have A Christmas Tree?

How Did We Start Singing Christmas Carols?

Carolling is an ancient practice of dancing or singing songs of praise and happiness.

Thousands of years ago in Europe, carols were written and sung during all four seasons. Originally Pagans (non-religious people or those that believe in more than one God) sang carols to celebrate the winter solstice around December 22, but then early Christians took over the practice and began to sing Christian songs at this time of year.

The earliest recorded Christmas hymns can be traced to 4th century Rome. These hymns were in Latin and some of them are still sung in churches. Subsequently, centuries later in the 1800s, carols written in English became popular.

Why Are Stockings Hung In Christmas?

According to legend, St. Nicholas, a bishop known for his kindness and generosity, had discovered a family that was struggling financially and he decided to deliver them an extravagant gift. On Christmas Eve, St. Nicholas tossed three bags of gold coins down the family’s chimney, where they landed in the socks that were hung above the fireplace to dry.

Why Are Bells Associated With Christmas?

Bells, whether sleigh bells, church bells or jingle bells, are a very important part of Christmas. The association of bells with Christmas is both symbolic and practical. Bells in both Pagan and Christian traditions supposedly ward off evil spirits. In addition, church bells are rung to signify an important event, such as Christ’s birthday, or even to let churchgoers know it’s time for service.

Why Are Stars Used As Tree Toppers?

According to legend, stars on the top of the Christmas tree represent the Star of Bethlehem. Christians believe that the Star of Bethlehem guided the Three Wise Men to find baby Jesus.

Why Are Candy Canes Associated With Christmas?

In 1670, a German choirmaster (a person who leads a choir) in Cologne, Germany asked a local sweet shop to make sweets (in the shape of a shepherd’s hook) for the children at his church to keep them quiet during the long Christmas service.

Why Are Christmas Crackers Shaped Like A Giant Sweet?

Taking inspiration from the French bon bon, Tom Smith in 1847 in London, invented the Christmas crackers. His rival confectioners in London started copying his bon bon. This led him to create a bigger packaging and the addition of a message within. Eventually, the bon bon was dropped altogether and a token put in its place, leading to something which seems very much like the Christmas crackers we have today.

Did You Know?

Bon Bon was a sugared almond sweet wrapped in twisted tissue paper.

What Does Holly Symbolise?

There is nothing as Christmassy as a holly! However, long before holly got associated with Christmas, it was considered a lucky charm. Holly was used to ward off witches and bad spirits, especially at farms where there were fears of losing livestock to curses. Eventually, Holly got associated with Christianity. The spiky foliage represents the crown of thorns worn by Jesus Christ at the Easter crucifixion and the berries of his blood. Although Christ died at Easter, it became a tradition to bring sprigs into the house at Christmas.

How Did Tukey Appear On The Christmas Menu?

Initially, turkey was not a part of the traditional Christmas dinner. Turkey didn’t appear on the Christmas menu until Henry VIll of the UK introduced it in the 1500s.

When Did Kids Start Leaving Milk And Cookies For Santa?

Since mediaeval times in Germany, during the Yule season children left out food at night in hopes of getting presents from a different white-bearded guy: Odin, the all-powerful Norse god who travelled on his eight-legged horse, Sleipnir.

Who Started The Tradition Of Sending Christmas Cards?

In 1843, Sir Henry Cole was behind the first printed Christmas card. He asked John Callcott Horsley to design it. It had the words ‘A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year To You’ printed on it. About 1,000 cards were made and it cost a shilling, which was actually a lot of money at the time (5p in today’s money).

How Did The Tradition Of Santa Claus Start?

The tradition of Santa Claus is said to come from St. Nicholas, a Christian bishop living in (what is now Türkiye in the 4th century AD. Nicholas had inherited a great deal of wealth and was known for giving it away to help the needy. When he was sainted, he became the protector of children.

The Dutch figure Sinterklass is also based on St. Nicholas. His legend evolved across northern Europe, and he finally assumed his now-familiar form.

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