What To Do If Your Kids Think Hari Raya Is Not As Fun As Christmas
Do your children find Christmas or Halloween more exciting than Hari Raya? Here's how you can turn up the level of fun for this festive occasion and make them enthusiastically look forward to it every year!
Singapore is home to a diverse blend of cultures, religions and walks of life.
There is always some sort of celebration going on and whether or not it is our own, we are usually more than happy to join in the fun as well!
But what happens if your child seems to get more excited about other festivities and doesn't show the same level of enthusiasm for the ones your family do celebrate?
What is it about Christmas, Halloween or the Lunar New Year that seems to be more appealing to the little ones?
Is it the colourful decorations seen around town, shopping malls, schools and other public spaces? Or the upbeat and catchy tunes played on the airwaves? Perhaps it's the influence from watching special festive-themed episodes of their favourite cartoon on TV?
But Hari Raya Puasa (also known as Eid ul Fitr) can be just as fun and exciting too. So if you want to improve your child's Eid experience, just check out this great list of festive activities!
1. Read storybooks
Reading to your child on a regularly basis is not only a good way to bond, but it also plays a part in helping with her brain development.
You can borrow books from the library specifically about Ramadan and Hari Raya Puasa/ Eid ul Fitr, or buy them from selected bookstores.
We recommend: Hassan and Aneesa Love Ramadan by Yasmeen Rahim, Welcome Ramadan! by Lila Assiff-Tarabain, I'm Learning About Eid-ul-Fitr by Saniyasnain Khan, Celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr with Ama Fatima by Fawzia Gilani-Williams.
2. Cook and bake together
Whatever celebration it may be, everyone always looks forward to tucking into the delicious festive feasts!
Get your kids involved in cooking the special family meal, or try their hand at whipping up some delectable sweet treats.
This will make them feel more willing to try the food they prepared and also appreciate the meal once it is finally ready to eat.
If you're not in a whizz in the kitchen, you can also make Raya extra special by ordering themed food!
3. Decorate the house
Deck the halls with hanging ketupats, fa la la la la, la la la la!
Get into the mood for Hari Raya Puasa by letting your kids help you decorate the house according to the festive theme.
This can include fairy lights, buntings, table-cloths, cushions, signages, lanterns, streamers, and more.
We recommend: Decorative lighting from IKEA ($11.90 ~ $79.90); Hari Raya printed wooden sign from Typo ($3); Pineapple Tart cushions from Nom Nom Plush ($26.32); Ketupat cushion from Giant (3 for $9.90); Assorted Hari Raya decorations from NTUC Fairprice ($2.90 onwards)
4. Get a Raya Blessings tree
Most children (and even adults) are fascinated by beautifully decorated Christmas trees -- so why not get your very own Raya tree instead where you and your munchkins can happily decorate together?
There isn't a specific kind of tree you have to stick to, so be creative and use whatever suits your home's decor and your own personal taste -- or you can even just decorate your favourite potted plant that you already have!
However, instead of putting presents for the family underneath the tree, keeping in line with the spirit of Ramadan and Hari Raya Puasa, it should be recognised as a Blessings tree.
So instead of ornaments and streamers (or in addition to), get decorative notes for your whole family to write special messages on and hang up.
Raya Blessings tree ideas: Write down everything you are grateful and thankful for; Hang up people's names you would like to pray for; Include various good deeds you could each do; Print out your favourite Quranic verses.
5. Exchange greeting cards
Remember when you were a kid and would eagerly wait for the postman to come to deliver the mail, with the hopes that perhaps there was a letter - or better yet, a parcel - for you?
But in the modern age of technology and gadgets, it seems like festive greetings and well-wishes are mainly sent electronically either on the mobile phone, via email, or shared on social media.
Call us old-fashioned, but snail mail is still pretty fun (unless you receive a bill in the mail that is), and your child will find joy in creating her very own Hari Raya cards and mailing it out to her friends and relatives.
Encourage the recipients to return the favour by sending your little one a card too and watch how her face lights up when she finds out there is a special delivery in the postbox with her name on it!
6. Go to a Ramadan bazaar
Nothing helps to get you in the Raya mood than going to a Ramadan bazaar and soaking in the festive atmosphere!
There are several bazaars across Singapore you can bring your kids to see all the bright lights, hear the familiar jingles, and buy all your Hari Raya needs -- the popular and well-known ones are mostly outdoors and some smaller ones are held at certain shopping malls.
You'll most likely bump into someone you know there as well and can compare what delightful Raya goodies you've bought in preparation for this festive occasion.
Go to the next page for more fun and exciting Hari Raya ideas!
7. Get a henna tattoo
You've seen some brides get henna tattoos for their weddings, and some women claim it also helps boost their fertility, but this traditional practice is also done to mark the end of Ramadan and beautify your body for Hari Raya Puasa.
Let your child choose her own intricate design and help her draw it on her hands and feet -- or if you don't have such a steady hand, just get an expert to do it.
However some boys might not be too keen on floral and heart motifs, so don't be surprised if junior requests for a Batman logo or ninja stars instead!
8. Play festive music
Forget listening to Wheels on the Bus, Old MacDonald, or even Despacito and blast some upbeat Hari Raya tunes in the car as you're driving your kids to school!
There are also lots of cute animated music videos of popular Raya songs for your children to watch during screen time which will be sure to delight them.
9. Make some art & craft
Bring out the coloured paper, ice cream sticks, glitter and glue, because it's time to have fun crafty fun with your little one.
Create beautiful works of art as part of the festive decorations, greeting cards to be given out to friends, or just because!
You can even help your child put together her very own Hari Raya activity book which will keep her happily occupied when you're travelling from one of Singapore to the other for house visits.
10. Give Eidi presents
In Singapore, we usually hand out money packets to children for their Eidi (token gift), but you can also opt to give them presents instead.
It doesn't have to be anything expensive or extravagant, especially if you have a large family and 30 nieces and nephews!
Just stick to a reasonable budget and wrap the gift in a creative way which will put a smile on the kids' faces.
Of course, you can splurge and get your own children some big ticket items as a special treat, as long as it's within a reasonable budget and something they really need (such as a scooter, basketball, bicycle helmet).
Eidi ideas: Books, small toys, art & craft kit, hair accessories, DVD, candy bags, customised Message Lolly Cookies from Famous Amos ($4.50 each).
11. Have an advent calendar
Your kids might have been tempted by those chocolate advent calendars they've seen at the supermarkets around Christmas time, so just borrow that idea and create your very own Ramadan advent calendar counting down to Hari Raya.
If your little one is also starting to fast, the advent calendar surprises will be a lovely treat for her to look forward to at the end of each day.
Have fun creating one together, but keep the daily gift a secret so she can have a lovely surprise each day when she opens it up.
Ramadan and Hari Raya Puasa is also known as a season of giving for Muslims, so remember to fill the advent calendar with messages of good deeds your child can carry out, or even include small tins of cat food you can bring down to feed the stray kitties around the neighbourhood.
You can also encourage your child to share her daily treats with her siblings, neighbours, or friends in school.
Advent calendar filler ideas: Chocolates, candy, stickers, magnets, good deed to carry out, small tins of cat food or bird food (to feed neighbourhood animals), seeds to plant, prayer beads, brooches, small toys, $1 coins.
12. Share food with your neighbours
Spread the joy of Hari Raya by sharing some delicious food with your neighbours, whether or not they celebrate this occasion.
Think of it as reverse Halloween trick-or-treating where you and your kids get dressed up in nice new clothes and go around door to door handing out yummy treats.
You can also take this opportunity to invite your friends from the estate to join you for an Iftar (breaking fast) meal, or to your upcoming Hari Raya Open House event!
13. Create your own family traditions
Different people have their own ways of doing things and depending on your cultural background, upbringing, and personal preferences, the way you celebrate Hari Raya Puasa doesn't have to be exactly the same as other families.
As long as you remember the spirit of Ramadan and the true essence of Hari Raya, it is up to you how you want to commemorate this festive occasion and just how fun you want it to be for your children.
So go on and teach your children about the beauty of Ramadan and the joy of Hari Raya!
How do you make Hari Raya more fun and exciting for your children? Will you be trying any of these ideas? Or do you have some other fantastic suggestions to share? Feel free to leave a comment below!