These young Londoners got real artsy to prepare for the month of Ramadan

Young Londoners from the Muslim community got to put their crafty hats on and create their own home decorations for Ramadan while also learning about the significance and traditions of the holy month. 

Kids made traditional lanterns and learned about the history and significance of Ramadan

Three sisters holding paper lanterns which are a custom during the month of Ramadan
From left to right: Sisters Rama, Judy, and Yumnah designed their own lanterns which they will hang in their rooms. (Isha Bhargava/CBC)

Young Londoners from the Muslim community put their crafty hats on and made their own home decorations for Ramadan, while also learning about the history and traditions of the holy month and Eid celebrations that follow.

The kids designed decorative lanterns out of craft paper, gems, and jewels to hang in their homes. Many of them also learned how to write their names in Arabic at a children's workshop at Museum London on Sunday. 

"The lanterns are mostly a symbol of Ramadan and a way to start the celebration. It's kind of like lights being put up during Christmas," said Dalia El Toark, who led the workshop.

The sold-out workshop gave the youngsters an opportunity to prepare for 30 days of Ramadan, observed by millions of Muslims around the world through fasting and extra prayers, El Toark said. This year it'll start on March. 23.

"Ramadan isn't just fasting from food, but you also feel for others and it's a time for you to worship and just be thankful," she said. "It's about giving, understanding, and being patient." 

A little girl drawing on craft paper with a ruler to create a design for her lantern.
Hard at work, 10-year-old Danya Ziada is sketching a design for her lantern that'll include a crescent moon inside a mosque. (Isha Bhargava/CBC)

The kids, aged six and older, got creative with their lantern designs. For Danya Ziada, 10, it was important to include a crescent moon inside a mosque in her lantern. 

"When I think of Ramadan, I think of crescent moons," she said. "I love art and doing different things outside the box, so this workshop is really fun and I really like it."

Ramadan is one of Ziada's favourite times of the year because fasting makes her feel closer to God, and allows her to spend lots of time with her family, she said.

The Byron Southwood Public School student does lots of community work to teach the rest of her schoolmates about Ramadan and its significance. 

"Every year, me and my mom prepare a slide show and fun games where we tell my class more about Ramadan because in school you don't really hear much about it, and we wanted people to know that it's a really fun celebration," she said.

Although she's quite familiar with her culture, Ziada learned through the workshop about the origins of the Islamic religious text, the Qur'an, during the month of Ramadan.

'Our community is growing'

Dalia El Toark is a volunteer tour guide at Museum London
Dalia El Toark is a volunteer tour guide at Museum London. She led the Ramadan Lantern workshop and taught kids about the celebrations. (Isha Bhargava/CBC)

El Toark was over the moon when she found out the event was sold out weeks in advance, putting her worries of a low turnout to ease, she said. 

"It just shows that our Muslim community is growing and it makes me feel so great because there's a sense of inclusion going on and I feel like London is truly evolving, which is amazing," she added. 

Six-year-old Motaz Ibrahim and his sister Manar were competing to see whose lantern design could be the prettiest. Ibrahim decorated his with stars and the moon, he said.

A little boy holding four different lanterns he made at a Ramadan workshop
Motaz Ibrahim, 6, made lots of lanterns that he plans to hang in his room. (Isha Bhargava/CBC)

"There's so much excitement to make lanterns, I've noticed a lot of them [kids] knew what Ramadan is and they were very excited to share what they know about it," El Toark said.

"It really allows fellow Muslims to connect with one another and get refreshed about Ramadan. Sometimes we forget that it's really about, so I feel that getting together and talking about it gets us ready for this festive month."

Many parents are already asking her if there will be similar events in the future, El Toark said. She said she hopes people from non-Muslim backgrounds can also join and learn what Ramadan is all about. 

Pink, white, and yellow lanterns along with drawings of mosques on a table.
Some of the lanterns and drawings kids were making at Museum London at a Ramadan Lantern Workshop. (Isha Bhargava/CBC )


Isha Bhargava is a multiplatform reporter for CBC News. She's worked for Ontario newsrooms in Toronto and London. She loves telling current affairs and human interest stories. You can reach her at