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With the spring holy days winding down, we move into the summer “slow season.” Many Christian churches will move into Ordinary Time – the rather long liturgical period after Easter/Pentecost. In the Lutheran church in which I was raised, this time was marked by week after week of green altar cloths, paraments, and stoles.

A similar situation is found in many of the world’s major religions, but here are a few holidays coming up at the end of May/beginning of June.

Eid al-Fitr (≈ sundown, May 23): Eid al-Fitr is the final day of the month-long Islamic observance of Ramadan. It’s always celebrated with food, family, friends, and fun. In fact, the word “eid” means “celebration.” The exact date is determined by the moon sightings of local Islamic authorities, which means the Eid often falls on different days for Muslims around the world. Mubarak {moo-bar-ahk} means “blessed,” so the typical greeting is Eid Mubarak!

Trinity Sunday (June 7): Trinity Sunday is interesting because it highlights differences found within the Christian traditions – both nowadays and in antiquity. For Western Christianity, Trinity Sunday is the Sunday after Pentecost. For Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Trinity Sunday is Pentecost. The idea of explicitly honoring the Trinity first emerged in the early 4th century as a response to Arianism, but Trinity Sunday did not become a Church-wide feast until a declaration from Pope John XII in the 14th century.

Summer/Winter Solstice (≈ June 21): The word “solstice” comes from the Latin sol stitium, which means “sun standing still.” On the solstices, as seen from the earth, the sun reaches either its northern-most or southern-most point for the year. The sun then has to “switch directions” so, for that one day, it appears to stand still in the sky. Wiccans/Neo-Pagans refer to the summer solstice as Litha or Midsummer, while some Christians recognize it as the Feast Day of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. It’s interesting to note the similarities between ritual practices, even though the two holy days are celebrated by two very different faith traditions.

Since we emphasized non-Islamic holidays in our May newsletter, we’ll take this opportunity to focus on Ramadan/Eid. There are numerous web sites containing literally hundreds of craft ideas for the month of Ramadan. Many of those crafts are some version of lanterns and crescent moons (since the new moon signifies the new month and the end of Ramadan). We created this Colorful Mosque craft, which we’ve made several times with our Upper Elementary group. (Younger kids can do it, too, but you need to cut out the windows for them.)

Supplies: mosque coloring page, crayons/markers/colored pencils, X-Acto-type knives, small pieces of tissue paper, tape/glue sticks, and old newspapers/paper grocery bags for cutting on. A piece of background paper is optional.

Helpful Hints: The kids love using X-Acto knives, and we’ve never had a problem with them getting hurt or acting irresponsibly. Obviously, you know your kids best, so adapt as necessary.
  1. Print out a mosque coloring page. Here is one example. We printed this one on purple paper, just to give it some default color.
  2. Have the kids use the X-Acto-type knives to cut out the windows and doors. Remember to cut on newspaper/paper bags to avoid scratching the work surface.
  3. Turn the image over and place small pieces of tissue paper over the holes using tape or glue sticks. Remember, the glue needs to go on the back of the mosque image and not on the tissue paper, itself, or the tissue paper will rip.
  4. Let the kids color the rest of the mosque, as desired. Placing the entire image on a piece of black background paper really makes the colors stand out. Just remember not to use glue sticks on the tissue paper areas.

Kids' Books Recommendations

There are also lots of really wonderful kids’ books for Ramadan/Eid.
One of our favorites for younger children (preschool/kindergarten) is Night of the Moon by Hena Khan and Julie Paschkis (Chronical Books, 2018).

For slightly older children, we like Let’s Celebrate Ramadan and Eid by Ajanta Chakraborty, Vivek Kumar, and Janelle Dillar (Bollywood Groove, 2017). If you’re not in the market to buy a book, check with your local library. They’re sure to have some great options. 


More Reading

I’ve had the opportunity to fast for Ramadan many times, and I’ve managed to attend one Eid celebration. My first Ramadan observance might have been the most interesting. I fasted on a Friday and attended a Shi’a home iftar. Then, I fasted on Saturday and attended a Sunni mosque iftar. Here’s the link to my blog write-up about those experiences.

I also had a colleague who curated an annual blog called Interfaith Ramadan. My 2015 Multifaith Mashup article focused on the moon and its importance in several different faith traditions.

Finally, I contributed a 10 Fun Facts post on the Summer Solstice for Multicultural Kid Blogs last year. 

Don’t forget to follow @FaithSeekerKids on Twitter and Instagram for news articles, interfaith webinars, book recommendations, and craft images!

Coming Soon!

Our kids’ book, We All Have Sacred Spaces, is at the printer and should be out in a matter of weeks. It highlights Indigenous Sites, Hindu Temples, Buddhist Temples, Christian Churches, Jewish Synagogues, Islamic Mosques, and Sikh Gurdwaras.

Available on Amazon by June 15

Curriculum Spotlight

Interfaith Made Easy Unit #1 Peace, Preschool - Kindergarten (Hard Copy)
Interfaith Made Easy Unit #1 Peace, Preschool - Kindergarten (Hard Copy)
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