A Kid's Guide to Ramadan

Last updated: April 19, 2021, at 9:52 a.m. PT

Originally published: April 2, 2021, at 12:42 p.m. PT

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What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month on the Islamic calendar, which Muslims (people who practice Islam) consider to be one of the more special months of the year. During Ramadan grown-ups fast, which means they don't eat or drink, while it’s light outside. Ramadan is a great time for inviting friends and family over when it’s time to break fast. You’ll find families meet for big meals that may include stew, rice, dates, lentils, and more. Grown-ups also have a morning meal before the sun rises. Kids don't begin participating in fasting but you might find some younger kids fasting for a few hours a day to train for when they are ready to fast the whole day, usually around the age of 14.

Ramadan is a time for reflecting on your faith and taking part in generous acts like caring for your neighbors who have less and other acts of kindness. People raise money and donate supplies to help others in need. And many fast to remind themselves about those in the world who don’t have enough to eat. The Quran (the main religious text in Islam) was also revealed in Ramadan so many Muslims spend a lot of time reciting it as well.

This year, Ramadan begins April 12 and ends on May 12. After the last day of Ramadan, a three-day fast-breaking festival called Eid al-Fitr is held. Families and friends gather together to celebrate. They sometimes decorate homes with lights and exchange gifts. As for food, people eat all sorts of things including candies and pastries. 

Learn More About Ramadan as a Family 

To learn more about Ramadan with your family, check out your local library's selection of books for kids of all ages. We recommend Rashad's Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr

If your family is not Muslim, but would like to learn more about the celebrations, check out our 9 Ramadan Activities for Kids, in the Y's Family Room