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Lauren Piovesan
Founder of ESL Reads
EAL Teacher

Understanding Ramadan and Eid: A Brief Guide for Teachers

April 16, 2024
By Boman Adil and Lauren Piovesan

As educators, it’s essential to be aware of the significant cultural and religious practices that may impact our students’ lives. One such significant period is Ramadan, a month-long observance in the Islamic calendar, followed by the celebration of Eid. In this blog, I have a conversation with Boman Adil, a refugee from Afghanistan who works as a Multicultural Education Aide in an Australian school. Together, we delve into the topics of Ramadan and Eid to better understand how we, as teachers, can support our students during this time.

1. How would you describe Ramadan?

Ramadan is a holy month in the Islamic calendar known as the “Worship month.” The date of this month changes each year by moving it 10 days forward from the previous year. Muslim people believe that the Holy Quran was officially revealed to the people on the 19th, 21st and 23rd day of the month of Ramadan. On these days, some people stay awake the whole night, from evening to dawn praying and reciting verses of the Quran.

2. What do students do during Ramadan?

During the month of Ramadan, females who are 13 years or older, and males who are 14 years or older will fast from dawn to dusk; that means no eating or drinking during that period of time. Of course, there are some exceptions to the rule. For example, if you are sick, on medication, breastfeeding or menstruating, you do not need to fast. However, as soon as you are feeling better or finish this period of time, you will need to fast for the number of days that you missed before the next Ramadan occurs.

Understandably, this means that students will be a little tired considering they are waking up at 4:30am each day to eat breakfast. Due to fatigue, students may opt out of certain activities, such as Physical Education (PE).

Some students may avoid listening to music, attending celebrations or dancing. However,  according to Boman this is not officially written in the Quran to be a rule. It depends on the students and their family, traditions and level of education.

There is another religious holiday called Muharram where Imam Hossein, the leader of Muslims, was killed. This is a time where it is clearly stated in the Quran that you are not to listen to music, go to parties or attend weddings. However, this is separate from Ramadan.

3. What are the challenges of practising Ramadan in Australia?

9.     Local sheik leads residents to Eidul-Fitri prayer at Lamagaly military camp in Beledweyne

“It’s less serious here (in Australia),” said Boman. In Afghanistan, for example, if you are in Ramadan month, fasting is very strict. All of the restaurants are closed. You cannot eat publicly in front of people. In Islamic countries, time is given during school and work to pray. Overall, it is easier to take it seriously and follow the rules back in students’ home countries.

4. What is Eid?

Eid is the last day of the month of Ramadan. It’s a large celebration, similar to New Year’s Eve or Christmas for Western countries. It officially goes for 3 days and is a public holiday in Islamic countries. Actually, there are two celebrations of Eid; Eid-al-Fitr which is the one we are talking about here and Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Adha is a three day celebration commencing on the 16th of June this year. This is the holiday where if you are able to, you go on a “Hajj” (pilgrimage) to Mina in Saudi Arabia. Eid al-Adha is still widely celebrated but in general, it is not as big a celebration as Eid al-Fitr.

5. How do people celebrate Eid?


First of all, people break their fast (Iftari) and have a huge celebration with traditional foods. You invite and visit family, exchange gifts and give to charity. In particular, if someone was sick that year or recently passed away, you go to visit those people on the day of Eid to show respect and empathy. 

6. How should teachers support students during the time of Ramadan and Eid?

“Teachers should be aware of it (Ramadan). They (students) are going to reject activities; they might feel sick or faint … so it’s important that the whole school knows about it.” The school should announce it so that all teachers are aware that students are fasting. When it comes to Eid, you can say, “Eid Mubarak” which means Happy Eid. Teachers also need to be aware of absences at this time. During the three-day celebration, some students may not come to school, especially on the first day of Eid. Some students may also be absent in preparation e.g. buying gifts or finding outfits in the lead up. It depends on the students and their family as to how many days the students may be absent, so it’s useful to plan critical work or assessments outside of the week of Eid.

As a whole school approach, some schools have prayer rooms or designated classrooms where students can pray during break times. 

Many of us currently have, or have had Muslim students in our classrooms and are well aware of some of the impacts of Ramadan on student learning. However, speaking to different people can give you additional insights on the rules and traditions of Ramadan and Eid in different countries, and the challenges they may face practising their religion in a new country. So, have a chat with your students to learn more about this important religious celebration!

Please note: this blog was written from the experiences of Boman Adil and from the lens of practices in Afghanistan which may or may not change from country to country and in different religious sects within Islam.

Boman Adil was a teacher in Pakistan but has lived in Australia for the past 13 years. He has worked at a large high school in Victoria as a Multicultural Education Aide for 9 years. 


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