As Ramadan nears, we all find our social media feeds filling up with all the decoration and activity ideas. Certainly all done and shared in the spirit of making it all the more special for family. But nevertheless at times daunting.
Some years ago this was something new for me. Because growing up in Pakistan we (more specifically our family) never decorated for Ramadan. If you think about it, there wasn’t really any need because majority were in the same communal spirit and the spiritual vibe was strong and hard to miss.
But moving miles away to Australia, not having the constant presence of family around and seeing this decoration trend, I was like why not?
Hence the first year I made some origami stars and lanterns I remembered making with my mom and sisters years ago. That year I was a new mom and it was my first time of not fasting as an adult. At that time, those simple crafts helped me add to the “feels” of as if I had done “something” for Ramadan.
Next time around I just downloaded some pintables online and pasted them around.
But over the years, I feel all those things kept evolving. Browsing through all the beautifully curated content I could not help but feel overwhelmed with it all. From Ramadan baskets, to craft carts, to elaborate Ramadan nooks and corners with fancy decorative pieces….it was just too much to take in and keep up with!
It was as if everyone was in a competition….
Yup that’s what it feels like from the sidelines. And I felt “compelled” to join. I saw all these beautiful displays online and I felt my décor and displays never even slightly measured up. And there was no end to it!
And then I snapped!
In last year or two, I could feel my stress building up in days and weeks leading up to Ramadan. So much to do with all the preparations and settings to make it “special” for the family. But I felt like a failure because everyone seemed to have it better than me. Thus it was natural I started to view Ramadan with contempt. That was a red alert and I knew something had to change.
Should we decorate for Ramadan?
If all the stressing was for children’s sake hence it was pertinent I included them in the process. I posed my son the question and he retorts “mama is it necessary?”
That made me slow down and really consider…
What’s the purpose and who was I doing it for?
Was it from a place of joy or from a place of guilt and compulsion?
Do I feel pressured into setting up Ramadan décor?
Did it add on to my worship or spirituality? Or has it taken me away from it?
Does it comply with my present values?
Do I want to give into the waves of consumerism that’s seeping into and taking over the true spirit of Ramadan?
Is this what I want my children to associate Ramadan with?
Is this what will really make my children happy?
You know what children really want?
Ramadan decoration or not, children want their parents to be playful, happy, present and just be with them. Certainly Ramadan is the perfect time to do just that: to slow down, sit, be together and to let go off of all that’s extra and make most of what’s at hand. I thought this is exactly what I need to be doing instead of stressing.
Anything needs to be reconsidered if:
- It’s causing a burnout and/or causing us to be resentful
- It’s an extra expense (israaf)
- If we are doing it under some kind of pressure. To post on social media, for social gatherings (riyaa)
- Takes too much of our time and consideration
- Not environmental friendly and ethically resourced.
- Makes us forget the true essence of Ramadan
It’s all about intentionality and mindfulness.
We shouldn’t be entering Ramadan frazzled and synced out fussing over details which really don’t matter in the long run.
The thing we should really be striving for is to be better. What kind of person do we want to be to people around us? What kind of a mother, sister, spouse or friend?
It’s all about creating the environment.
I have noticed my children learn so much just by reading and telling of stories and by doing little interest led activities. It’s all about creating the environment, about creating experiences and memories. It can happen in the most simplest of moments. And it happens best when the mom is at peace with herself.
What are we doing for Ramadan this year?
We aren’t putting up any décor because it doesn’t sit well with us trying to fit in a minimalistic and environmentally conscious lifestyle. But children did take out some crescents they decorated in playgroup last year to put up in their room. As for activities, I haven’t got anything special prepared but we will do what we do every other day. Read and tell stories with a lot of Qur’an and dua with some crafts in between. And I know whatever I choose to do or not, my children are learning regardless and they learn best by watching me read more Qur’an, do more salah and dua.
There’s no one way, right or wrong way to do it. Whether we decide to decorate or not, it’s important to note that what might suit some, might not suit the others. There’s no one size fit all. But amidst it all we need to keep in mind the true spirit of our deen. What would the Prophet ﷺ and his companions would have done and said about this all.
With that in mind lets be very intentional and mindful with whatever we do inside our homes and decide to post on social media inshaAllah.
May Allah allow us to reach Ramadan and reap it’s benefits to the fullest. Ameen