What does it take for a child to feel confident in sharing their culture at school?
This month, Cloverdale Traditional School acknowledged the Eid celebration, where over 20 Muslims students attending the school celebrate twice a year.
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan (month of fasting), and Eid ul Adha marks the end of the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). “When the school recognizes Eid as an important celebration for some of their students, it is a way for our children to feel a sense of inclusion in the year-round celebrations, and themed activities that happen at the school,” says Erum Ghouri, a parent.
This year billions of Muslims all around the world celebrated Eid Ul Fitr on June 4th or 5th, depending on the moon sighting in different countries.
The Eid celebration continues for up to three days and people wish each other “Eid Mubarak” (Blessed/Happy Eid).
“Eid is just like Christmas time for us,” exclaims Maheen in Grade 4. Another student, Maryam in Grade 3, says: We wear our new or best clothes, shoes, and jewellery and apply henna on our palms. We also attend a special prayer with our community and get lots of goodie bags!”
For Zara in Grade 5, Eid is a time to gather with family and friends, where they “exchange gifts, eat lots of yummy foods, and have Eid parties and BBQ. She adds, “I feel really happy that I got to do a presentation about Eid to all the classes in my school.”
Twenty Cloverdale families sponsored “Eidys” ( little gift boxes) for more than 300 students attending the school, along with some special sweets and savories for staff.
“We are happy to do this for our kids, some of who trained in fasting during the month of Ramadan, it truly means a lot to them when they can celebrate with their friends at school,” says Kulsoum Azkarinajad, a parent.
The school also prepared a video presentation about Eid thanks to Ms. Maggie Bird and allowed for a display of Eid decorations on their Bulletin board for the Eid week.
When asked about what change has Cloverdale had over the years, Sheila Rashid, a parent at the school explains: “My older daughter almost in high school, graduated from Cloverdale and this idea of embracing multiculturalism in her time was quite a struggle. She always felt like her culture was only allowed at home; I am pleased that my younger daughter has the opportunity to be proud of who she is at Cloverdale now.”
Cloverdale Grade 2 class also took a field trip to the Masjid Al Iman during the month of Ramadan, to learn about their local Mosque in Victoria, and the basic principles of Islam. “I can’t believe my class came to the Masjid!” says Hussein in Grade 2.
Lynn Crust the class teacher says: “It was a great opportunity for the students, not only was the mosque tour educational but it was very fun! The school intends to include Eid as an annual themed celebration with the support of the parents.
“We look forward to preparing for Eid again next year at our school and may be some more activities if we plan ahead,” adds Ms. Bird.
Ms. Sandra Jost, principal of the Cloverdale Traditional school, believes: “It is important for students to share their culture and traditions with their friends at school; I always tell our students we have the world right here at Cloverdale!”