When my youngest daughter was 4 years old she hugely enjoyed helping her Christian friends decorate the Christmas tree and color the Easter eggs. One day she insisted that we put up our own Christmas tree. Thoughts raced in my mind. What harm would there be to decorate a tree. We even had the perfect looking one in our garden? But I knew that this was the wrong message to give to my young daughter.
I explained to her that the beauty of the world was that we each had our own beliefs and customs and that although we could share in the festivities of the other we should celebrate our own. My daughter was not easily convinced. She pouted and said but their celebrations are so much more fun.
This incident challenged me to think of ways to show my daughter that our celebrations can be fun too.
Next Ramadan I asked her to invite her friends to a lantern making party. The kids made lanterns and we filled the lanterns with Ramadan goodies which they took home with them as they were leaving. The whole family then joined in to make 30 lanterns which we hung in our kitchen. In each lantern we put a riddle and each night after” Iftar” we would take one lantern down and see who could solve the riddle.
To make Ramadan even more fun I came up with the idea of Ammo Ramadan” who visits houses the first day of Ramadan. It was a variation of a story I used to hear as a child from my Mother about ” Sheikh Ramadan”.
Ammo Ramdan only comes the first day of Ramadan. Nobody gets to see him but his presence is deeply felt by all through his gifts and actions. A knock is heard on the door and when the door is opened there would be a basket full of Ramadan goodies and gifts for the small children in the family.
My youngest daughter loved to listen to the story of Ammo Ramadan so we thought it would be fun to make it happen. My older daughters helped in making the magic of Ramadan for their youngest sister. They had fun filling the special basket with Ramadan goodies and choosing presents for their sister. One of them would place the basket on the doorstep and knock loudly on the door.
My youngest would rush to the door and together we would slowly and dramatically open the door. On the doorstep she would find a basket full of Ramadan sweets and small presents for her. It was rewarding watching her enjoyment and amazement at this Ramadan happening.
Needless to say, we talked to her about the true spirit of Ramadan and how important it is to give back to less fortunate people.
After exploring and enjoying the gifts she got, our youngest helped her sisters fill the basket again with staples like rice and sugar and food cans. We then put the basket back on our doorstep so that Ammo Ramadan” can give them to needy families
Ramadan became an exciting time for our youngest daughter and she was proud to invite her friends to share in our festivities. This was where I got inspiration to write my story; “When the Doorbell Rang”.