In 2015 Ramadan began on the evening of June 17, and it will last until the evening of July 17. This month of fasting, often celebrated with bright lights and colorful lanterns, is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and constitutes the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is a time of reflection and self-improvement and is considered to be the most sacred part of the Islamic year.
There are many ways Ramadan is celebrated, but a common way to welcome the month of Ramadan is to hang lanterns on buildings, streets, and in other public places. Crafting lanterns is a fun way to teach your class about just one religious celebration that is important to many people in the world.
1. Lantern Mugs
For a lasting reminder of the lessons they’ll learn about Ramadan, why not arrange for your students to decorate mugs to look like lanterns. This is also a good time to tell your students about the practice of fasting throughout the month, how those who observe Ramadan don’t eat or drink between sunrise and sunset as a way to understand the lives of those who are less fortunate.
2. Lantern Jars
Using empty glass jars your class has collected, craft glue, and colored tissue or crepe paper, your class can make unique and colorful lanterns to remind them of the meaning of Ramadan. While your class covers their jars with strips of colored paper, explain the ideas behind this important month, teaching your students about the value of self-reflection and striving to be the best they can be. The light of a candle shining through all the bright colors of their lantern will be a cheerful reminder of the lesson.
3. Paper Lanterns
All you need for this project are some sheets of colored paper, scissors, and a stapler or glue sticks. Folding the paper lengthwise, ask your students to cut slits running from the folded edge to about an inch away from the open edge.
They can decorate their lanterns with colored pencils, glitter, or even miniature hole punches. Once they unfold the sheets carefully, they should bring the long ends together to form a cylinder, and fasten them in place with staples or glue. A strip of colored paper can be attached to the top to make a handle.
4. Paper Mache Globe Lanterns
Paper mache is always popular, and it’s a great way to keep your students entertained while you discuss the history of Ramadan and why it is such an important part of the Islamic calendar. Ask your students to dip strips of newspaper into a paste made from two parts water and one part flour, covering all but the bottom of inflated balloons you’ve given them. After two layers of newspaper have dried, coat the globe with paste so a layer of colorful tissue can be applied. Once dry, carefully use skewers to poke several holes through the globes and remove the balloons to reveal lanterns!
Lessons about religious celebrations are a wonderful way for your students to see the fun and interesting ways people around the world celebrate their beliefs and to learn to appreciate and enjoy these customs, even if they don’t share the beliefs involved. These Ramadan lanterns will really light up their lessons!
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