Lebanese children lining up in front of their house
Children Celebrating Ramadan:
I think it is interesting that SOS Children's Village does not promote a certain religious viewpoint. Some charities specifically act for a certain religion, such as Christian Aid. SOS Children's Villages supports the religious faith of its children in each particular country. Every year Muslims celebrate the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, a month of fasting, prayer and charity. These are some thoughts of children that celebrate Ramadan:
Heba, 10 (a girl at SOS Children's Village Ksarnaba) The most enjoyable part of Ramadan is eating iftar! Fatoush (a Lebanese salad), fried potatoes, and dates are the best Ramadan foods. My favourite thing in Ramadan is when we all get together, our whole family and the other families, and we eat iftar together.
We decorate the house together with flowers and lights. My friends from other family houses and their mothers come and help us out and we go and help them decorate their house.
After iftar I go out and play with my friends. I have never fasted till now, but I will fast this year for a few days. There are lots of really nice cartoons and children's shows during Ramadan that I like to watch. That's why I feel very sad at the end of Ramadan. It's usually the most fun month of the year. But the good thing is that afterwards we have Eid (Muslim holidays after Ramadan) and we get all sorts of gifts and new dresses.
Mohamed, 11 (a boy at SOS Children's Village Ksarnaba) All the families get together during Ramadan and we have iftar together, which is so much fun. We also get to eat a lot of sweets and stuff we aren't allowed all the time, and we get to stay up a little later than usual.
The first day is usually the a special occasion when everybody celebrates together. We decorate our house with the small lights and with lanterns and my mother makes all my favourite foods, like fatoush, fried potatoes, soup, taboula (a Lebanese salad), shish tawook (grilled chicken kebab), and kebba (Lebanese style meat balls).
My favourite part of Ramadan is the time for sohour, which we usually eat right before dawn. My mother wakes us up and makes us eggs and cheese. But what I like the most is that time of the day, when it's still dark and so quiet and then the call for the dawn prayer signals the start of the fast and the last thing I do is watch the sunrise and then go back to sleep for an extra hour.
Ahlam, 11 (a girl at SOS Children's Village Bethlehem) On the first day of Ramadan I go with my SOS mother Wessam shopping to buy all the household requirements for the month. We buy fruits, vegetables, sugar, and the ingredients for all the sweets my SOS mother makes during the month. My favourite is katayef (a taco-like dish, where the pancake is stuffed with raisins, nuts, or cream, it is fried and then dipped into a sweet syrup).
We all help my mother clean up the family house. My three siblings and I each do part of the cleaning. We then decorate the house together. We hang lights and crescents especially for Ramadan around the house.
The thing I like most about Ramadan is eating iftar (the meal after breaking the fast at sunset). My mother makes some of my favourite dishes in Ramadan, like maklouba (a dish made of meat or chicken layered with rice and vegetables), mahshi (stuffed vine leaves or other vegetables) or mejaddarah (a Palestinian dish made of rice and lentils served with yoghurt).
Razan, 13 (a girl at SOS Children's Village Bethlehem) We start by preparing the house for the coming of the month of Ramadan. We buy all our needs for the month such as food, pickles and dates and the raw materials for Ramadan food. We then do a programme for the dishes we'll make during the month, and who we'll invite over for iftar. My mother makes the traditional cold Ramadan drinks like liquorice, tamarind and carob. During Ramadan she makes stuffed chicken, maklouba.
We go out with the other kids in the village and decorate the entire SOS Children's Village with lanterns and lights. We also prepare for a group iftar by decorating the area where we usually have iftar together. This is one of my favourite things during Ramadan; the entire SOS Children's Village gets together for a group iftar.
We pray a lot during Ramadan and we go together with our mother to give poor people food and clothes.