Growing up, although born Muslim, the most anticipated holiday was New Year for us. We celebrated most holidays similarly with the people we loved, delicious food, fancy clothes, talking and sharing and laughing...
But one thing special about New Year was that it marked the ending of a year and the beginning of a new one. The sweetness of a fresh start. A time to let go of the past and plan for the new. The promise of better days, better choices, better outcomes.
It was EXCITING!
As years passed by in my journey towards reforming my life to match the life of my mentor, my advisor, my Prophet (saws), so did my mental shift and excitement towards Ramadan.
It is so EXCITING! Ramadan is now the marker of a new beginning for me. It's the starting point of goals and positive habits. It is a point of major reflection of the past year and evaluation of my progress in my faith.
Because I live in the West where Eid comes and goes just as every other day... I take little steps to hype up the energy and excitement around me to make this day and month DIFFERENT from any other.
We now do decorations. We do special activities to increase our knowledge and to remind us of what Islam is truly about. We donate more. We talk to our far relatives more. We send greeting cards to friends all around the country. We give gifts to the children.
My intention most of all is for my kids to feel how special this month is. I want them to grow up looking forward to Ramadan each year. To feel the excitement and especially take the days to reflect, to purify, and to jump-start their own faith and relationship with Allah.