Eid

Vector illustration of Eid Mubarak Islamic Holy Celebration greeting card design – image taken from: https://www.google.com/amp/indianexpress.com/article/when-is/when-is-eid-al-adha-4821958/lite/?source=images

There are two different holidays Muslim people celebrate. The first one is Eid-al-Fitr which happens after the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, and in that month Muslim people fast from sunrise to sundown.

The second holiday is Eid-al-Adha which happens after Hajj. Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. Hajj is when Muslim people go to pilgrimage to the holy city Makkah. Every Muslim person looks forward to Eid, because it only occurs twice in the entire year, and because all your family members have the chance to get together to celebrate and enjoy Eid together. We eat a lot during Eid, since we have been fasting an entire month before it, and our plates seem to never become empty.

For Eid-al-Fitr, families all have different ways of celebrating. Since it is the next holiday coming up, here are some ways that we have celebrated it in the past.

On Eid, my family and I start off our day by praying the Eid prayer. After we finish praying we go to my grandma’s house where we meet up with all our aunts and uncles and their kids. While we are there we eat breakfast and catch up with people we haven’t seen in a long time. We usually stay there for at least 2 hours, then we go to a restaurant, then to an amusement park where we stay. The next day we usually hang out with our friends and do something with them.

Weeks before celebrating Eid, you need new clothes because when you pray the morning prayer you need to be clean. My family and I go to a restaurant, Old Country Buffet, where we eat, and as you would expect it’s all you can eat, with really great food. There are usually a lot of other Muslims who are there eating because they are celebrating Eid as well. After that, we go to an amusement park, Valley Fair, where we meet up with my relatives and just enjoy the day as we celebrate the ending of fasting. Eid celebration is a beautiful day
where people get together and everybody is happy, parents are nice, and they give their children money.

On Eid, my family first all gets together. All the relatives we haven’t seen in forever come sleep over at our house. They sleep over so we can all wake up in the morning and go to Eid prayer together. Eid is a celebration after the month of Ramadan. Eid is meant to be spent with your family and friends. It’s like a reward after all the fasting we had the month of Ramadan. After prayer, my family comes home and goes back to sleep because it’s still pretty early and everyone is still tired. When we get back up, we go together as family to get breakfast and after that it’s up to you what you want to do. Whether you want to spend the day with your friends, and go to the movies or the mall, or if you want some quality time with your siblings and parents. Eid is a good day, and a day of happiness, don’t just stay home.

Ramadan

The month of Ramadan is a sacred month to Muslims. This month is a basic belief and command that all Muslims must follow. This month is part of the 5 Pillars of Islam which are: Shahadah, belief in Allah and His Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon Him – PBUH); Salat, praying five times a day to Allah ONLY; Zakat, giving charity/alm; Sawm, fasting during the month of Ramadan; and Hajj, going to pilgrimage at least once in a Muslim’s lifetime.

The month of Ramadan is a month of 29 or 30 days where all Muslims, with the exception of few, have to fast (no eating or drinking) from sunrise to sundown. All able Muslims that have reached puberty, or the age of 15, must fast. The exceptions are: if you are menstruating, just gave birth, breastfeeding, pregnant, traveling, ill and need medication, or don’t have sanity etc. The people who have any of the above, except for insanity, will have to make up their fast after Ramadan and Shawwal.

The month of Ramadan brings people closer together because more people will do more good because Muslims believe that any good deeds they do will be multiplied more than any day that wasn’t in Ramadan. It is a month to learn to become a better person and a better Muslim. It also bring Muslims closer to God because God loves when we do good things for others and ourselves, and when we pray to Him, and do what we were commanded to do.

Also, during this month, the Holy Qur’an was revealed to our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and we try to read the entire Qur’an at least once or twice, during Ramadan, in Arabic because we follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) which is his life story or biography and the Prophet (PBUH) read it once or twice.

There is a day called Laylatul-Qadr a.k.a. the Night of Power. This night is on one of the last 10 days, most likely an odd number day, but it is unknown to us which day it is. We give more, read the Qur’an more, learn more about Islam, and pray a lot more during these last 10 days because if we do these good deeds on Laylatul-Qadr we will be rewarded by Allah more and be rid of our previous sins.

There are about 1.8 billion Muslims around the world, and most will be fasting during this month. If you aren’t Muslim, and there are Muslims around you, keep in mind that they might be fasting. It isn’t an easy thing to do when people around you are eating/drinking or even listening to music, and it’s okay to ask them questions. Ramadan Kareem or Ramadan Mubarak (Have a blessed Ramadan)!

Mother’s Day

What is Mother’s Day and why is it important?

Mother’s Day is an important day to show appreciation to mothers around the globe. Mother’s Day is celebrated in 46 countries, and it is a special day for mothers who are mostly dealing with a male dominant society.

History

According to Quora, Mother’s Day began in 1908 by a woman named Anna Jarvis, who did a memorial for her mother, who was a peace activist that helped the wounded soldiers during the Civil War. She began by getting support for Mother’s Day after her mother died. She wanted to honor all of the mothers who supported her family and loved ones.

Most of the U.S. started to celebrate Mother’s Day, and West Virginia, where Jarvis is from, declared Mother’s Day as a holiday. It became an official holiday when President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation in 1914.

It became an international celebration, and countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Italy, Singapore, Belgium, and more countries recognize it.

Mother’s Day is important because it is a day to honor, respect, and show more love than usual to mothers. The day acknowledges the maternal bonds, and roles of a mother in society. It is celebrated on May 13 in the U.S., but is different in other countries. Even if your mother is dead, or not there, it is a day to remember their importance to you.

Study from Psychologists

According to study.com, in the 1950’s, psychologists studied mother and child relationships by looking at how the child is affected to form long lasting bonds throughout their lives.

Infants that deal with high stress environments grow up to be worried adults who have difficulty developing bonds. Children with close relations to their caregivers end up being developing adults.

Also, maternal figures (moms) play a key role to help us become the people we are because they care and comfort us and provide us in so many ways.

Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

  • A Custom Handwriting Bracelet
  • Personalized Photo Stamps
  • Snapshot Mix Photo Art
  • Milk Chocolate Gift Basket
  • Flowers deliveries
  • Broadway Tickets
  • Personalized necklace
  • Plantable greeting card
  • Succulent Print Gardenia Candle
  • Mothers Day Box
  • Moms favorite perfumes

Get your wag on! Walk for animals

Every year, the Animal Humane Society hosts a walk where people can not only walk but also donate money to help animals in need. They aimed to raise 1 million dollars for vulnerable animals and raised 900,000 dollars.

They walk through Theodore Wirth Park, turn around at the Golf Chalet, and head back to the Animal Humane Society. The walk starts at 10 am and they have fun activities and booths for before, during, and after the walk. The activities include: dog games (featuring games and training tips for your dog) hair and face painting, Chip n’ Nail Clinic: where you’ll find reduced fees for nail trims, microchipping, gland expressions, and photo booths. They also have a merchandise booth!

You are not committed to walking the full 2.5 mile walk, and can also participate in cute pet contests.

They have three competitions: best celebrity look alike, best dance moves, and best hairdo. (Sign up by 11:00 am to participate!)

There is also a complimentary shuttle service that starts picking people up at the satellite lots at 7:45 and loops through the lots until 2 in the afternoon.

They also have a team of dogs that perform some athletic tricks called The Purina Pro Plan Performance Team. This show is at 9 am and at 11 am. There is live music at 12:30 pm and then another Purina Team performance at 1 pm.

The Animal Humane Society is a shelter that gives any animal a chance to be adopted. While they could qualify as a no kill shelter, they choose not to and only euthanize pets with an incurable disease or untreatable behavior issues. Euthanization is only used when they’ve exhausted all other options.

Find out more about the Animal Humane Society here: https://www.animalhumanesociety.org

The Trump’s administration’s first state dinner

The Trump administration held their first state dinner, in honor of French President Emmanuel Macron, on Tuesday, April 24. First Lady Melania Trump was the head organizer of the event, and it was a prime opportunity for her to prove herself. She chose not to bring in an outside event planner.

White House state dinners are a historical tradition. They are usually held in the State Dining Room (though larger ones, such as those held by Barack Obama, are held outside under tents) and are an opportunity for the President to meet with, and honor one or more foreign heads of state. According to the White House Historical Association, the first state dinner was held in 1874 by President Ulysses S. Grant to honor King David Kalakaua of the Kingdom of Hawaii. President Barack Obama held 13 state dinners during his tenure.

The Trump dinner was attended by around 150 people, none of whom were journalists or Congressional Democrats. It was decorated in a gold and cream color scheme. The menu for the dinner was in an American style, inspired by French cuisine. The first course featured goat cheese gateau, tomato jam, buttermilk biscuit crumbles, and young variegated lettuces. The main course featured rack of spring lamb, burnt cipollini soubise, and Carolina gold rice jambalaya. For dessert, they ate nectarine tart and crème fraîche ice cream. Fox News reported that for entertainment, Mrs. Trump opted for the Washington National Opera over popstars, as was done for most of the Obama administration’s state dinners.

Following a less formal dinner with the Macrons, at Mount Vernon (the home of George Washington), on Monday night, the First Lady greeted the Macrons on Tuesday morning dressed in a white Michael Kors skirt and blazer, and a Hervé Pierre hat. For the dinner, she wore a Chanel Haute Couture dress, which received great praise from many media outlets, including CNN, for its elegance.

ABC News reported that the President used the toast as an opportunity to thank his wife, saying “To America’s absolutely incredible first lady, thank you for making this an evening we will always cherish and remember. Thank you, Melania.”

But, though it was elegant, the Trumps’ first state dinner was not without argument. Trump lambasted the Iran deal, which he is against and Macron is for. The Iran deal is an agreement reached in 2015 between Iran, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, Germany, and the totality of the European Union, which lifted sanctions on Iran in return for limiting their nuclear program until 2025. Trump opposes it because he believes it is inadequate; having no control over Iran’s development of ballistic missiles and other non-nuclear weapons and their behavior in the Middle East (i.e., supporting Islamist terrorist organizations), and for its temporary time frame. He blasted the deal, calling it “insane” and “ridiculous.” However, as CNN reported, Trump seemed more amenable in a news conference afterwards, saying “We can be flexible. You know, in life you have to be flexible, and as leaders of countries, you have to show flexibility.” After the dinner, it is unclear what the fate of the Iran deal will be.

In one particularly memorable moment of the dinner, according to The Hill, President Trump brushed a piece of “dandruff” off of Emmanuel Macron’s shoulder, saying “They’re all saying what a great relationship we have, and they’re actually correct. We do have a very special relationship. In fact, I’ll get that little piece of dandruff off — we have to make him perfect. He is perfect.” The President of France laughed.

 

 

 

National children’s dentist month

February in every year is National Children’s Dental Health Month. According to Lakeville Orthodontics, each February the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM) to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. NCDHM messages and materials have reach millions of people in communities across the country. NCDHM began as a one day event in Cleveland, Ohio on February 3, 1941.

Later, in 1955, it became a one week event, and then became a world wide event. This was all good, and was set-up, but the ADA, to develop good habits at an early age. Scheduling regular dental visits helps children to get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums, which is something the ADA strongly encourages.

The ADA also gives good outlets for information which include: a daily and weekly newspaper supplement, newsprint shopping guides, a health club newsletter, library bulletin boards, church and schools bulletin etc. The ADA also has about 161,000 member and representatives, from all 50 states, who work on raising awareness in kids.

During NCDHM the ADA also asks for donations of toothbrushes in order to help the homeless, foster children, and also the less fortunate kids. This helps make them happy, and makes them feel welcome, and that we are all one.

The ADA has free online resources that can help with oral health presentations and also fun activity sheets for kids (like crosswords, coloring pages, connect dots, etc.).

Teaching kids how to brush their teeth is one of the best things that parents can do, so I encourage everyone to get to a dentist at least once a year.

Ramadan

By: Mariam Warsamee Ilham Ali

Ramadan begins at the start of the ninth month, of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is determined by the sighting of the crescent moon; there are actual moon-watching committees all around the world to make sure there aren’t any confusion on when the correct date is. Once the crescent moon is seen, the announcement of Ramadan is shared with all Muslims around the world through the news and radio.

Ramadan this year will be on May 17th.

Ramadan is the month where Muslims fast from sunrise to sundown. Ramadan is a holy month to Muslims; instead of going out to eat it is recommended that you eat at home with your family. Muslims are required to fast because it is one of the five pillars of Islam. Muslims must fast if they are mature and healthy for the full day. Muslims fast as an act to worship God, and as a chance to get closer to God. They also fast and to show sympathy to those in need, and they are required to give zakat (charity) to those who need it, if they are able.

The reason why Muslims fast is to achieve Taqwa. Taqwa is an Islamic term for being conscious and cognizant of Allah, of truth, of the rational reality, “piety, fear of God.” It is often found in the Holy Quran.

During Ramadan, Muslims try to achieve the highest degree of obedience by abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations while fasting from sunrise to sundown. This discipline is a spiritual and moral improvement. According to beliefnet.com, “ It is also by means of fasting that those who never have to hunger or thirst are (to some extent) made personally aware of the plight of the underprivileged, which thus evokes a degree of social consciousness.”

It is through fasting that people become aware of how much they have, and become conscious that not everyone in this world gets three meals a day. They learn to appreciate all that God gave them.

The brief history of Christmas

Christmas is a time for families, whether related or not, to come together and celebrate the holiday spirit with some hot cocoa and your favorite Christmas movie that you watch every year! As someone who really likes Christmas, I thought it’d be fun to learn the history, and origin, of Christmas.

In most areas of Europe, December was a perfect time to celebrate, as most cattle were slaughtered so they wouldn’t have to be fed durning winter. During this time, they had the largest supply of fresh meat, and most beer and wine being fermented would be ready to drink by this time. In Germany, they celebrated the pagan god Odin during mid-winter. Germans believed Odin would make flights through the sky during the night to observe his people. He would then decide who prospered and who perished.

In the early stages of Christianity, Easter was the main holiday, and Jesus’ birthday was not celebrated. However, in the 4th century, the Church decided a date to celebrate his birthday since the Bible doesn’t mention the date. There is evidence to suggest that his birth took place during the spring, but Pope Julius I chose December 25th so that they could absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival. By having Christmas at the same time as other traditional winter solstice festivals, church leaders increased the chances that Christmas would be embraced.

In the early 17th century, religious reform changed the way Christmas was celebrated in Europe. In 1645, Oliver Cromwell and his Puritans took over England, and they vowed to get rid of decadence and thus cancelled Christmas. However, due to popular demand, Charles II was restored to the throne, and Christmas came back with him.

In 1620, the pilgrims came to America, and didn’t bring Christmas with them because their beliefs were more orthodox than Cromwell. Christmas was not a holiday in early America. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings. However, after the American Revolution, Americans had rejected English customs and Christmas became a federal holiday in June of 1870.

Washington Irving wrote a book called The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent, which was a series of stories depicting the celebration of Christmas in an English manor house. All the traditions he wrote about in his 1819 book were nothing he actually had attended, but were things he had imagined. Many historians say that Irving had invented the traditions. Around the same time, Charles Dickens created A Christmas Carol. The story had a poignant message of the importance of charity and good will towards everyone, which struck a chord with Americans and Englishmen. Also, families were becoming less disciplined and more sensitive to the emotions of children.

For more information go to http://www.history.com/topics/christmas/history-of-christmas

Christmas around the world

Christmas is one of the most known and celebrated holidays with all age groups. Christmas mostly comes from Christianity, and is celebrated each year, but what’s to stop it from being celebrated in other countries around the world? Each place celebrates Christmas differently: from the decorations, to how long Christmas lasts, to when it starts. While most celebrate Christmas over a week, or two days, some celebrate it as a month longer festival which starts on November 26, and goes to January 6.; Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, Ethiopia, and other countries follow this tradition.

In Russian, Grandfather Frost (known in Russia as Ded Moroz) brings forth presents to the children while being accompanied by his granddaughter Snegurochka. On Christmas Eve, people in Russia don’t eat until the first star has appeared in the sky. People then eat a traditional porridge called “Sochivo” or “Kutia” made of wheat or rice mixed with honey, poppy seeds, and fruit. People don’t eat fish or meat during their Christmas Eve feast. They eat Sochivo from a special common bowl, which symbolizes unity. Sometimes, families throw a spoonful of Sochivo onto the ceiling and if it sticks then that would mean a good harvest and good luck in their future. On Christmas Day, the meal consists of 12 meals representing the 12 disciples of Jesus. After the feast, and attendance to church, the kids go out caroling, and wishing a happy new year, which they’re usually rewarded with cookies, sweets and money.

In Mexico, on December 16, through Christmas Eve, children often perform “Posadas” which is Spanish for inn or lodging. These celebrate the part of the Christmas story where Joseph and Mary went looking from somewhere to stay. The children sing to the baby Jesus for all the days leading up to Christmas Eve. Each night a different house holds a Posada party and at the end, the last house they set out the baby Jesus in the manger and everyone gathers there to go to the midnight church service. After the church service, there is an arrangement of fireworks to celebrate the coming of Christmas. The outside of houses are typically decorated with evergreens, moss, and paper lanterns. A game often played at Posada parties is pinata, where the kids gather around and hit it with a stick while being blindfolded. The pinata is often decorated with seven peaks and spikes to represent “The seven deadly sins.” A nativity scene, or in Mexico called “nacimiento,” which is a scene with clay figures, represents the gathering of Jesus’s birth. Poinsettia are known as the flowers of Christmas Eve and are bought at stores or even grown. On “el Dia de los Reyes” (Day of the three kings) kids often get gifts left by the three kings which are put into shoes left by the children. Presents can also be left by El Ninito Dios ( Baby Jesus) or Santa Clos (Santa Claus).

Everywhere, around the world, Christmas is celebrated differently and often brings family and friends closer together whether it comes from just sitting down and eating together, to just celebrating this holiday which is important to them. Each different place has its unique way to celebrate; if its from food, to decorations, or ways the people give gifts, it’s all special, and a way to celebrate the Christmas spirit.

For more information, please visit:

  1. https://www.momondo.com/inspiration/christmas-traditions-around-the-world/
  2. https://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/russia.shtml
  3. https://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/mexico.shtml
  4. 4. http://www.theholidayspot.com/christmas/worldxmas/

Hmong New Year

Hmong New Year is a celebration celebrated by Hmong people every year. It is celebrated from November 24th to the 26th, it lasts three days. In St. Paul, the New Year takes place at RiverCentre, near the Xcel Energy Center. Many people wear traditional Hmong clothes to the celebration. The celebration usually starts early and ends very late with an after party.

At Hmong New year, there are food stands that sell common Hmong food and drinks. There are also booths where people can sell stuff such as: movies, clothes, toys, medicine, jewelry, and more. Other than that, there are performances. The performances are usually dance groups, and singers, and there is also a Miss Hmong Minnesota Pageant every year.

Aside from performances, there is also ball toss area where most people hang out. Ball tossing is a game where the two (or more) players toss a ball back and forth. Usually a guy, who sees a girl he is interested in, will ask the girl to a ball toss game. During the game they guy will try to get to know the girl more, and hopes that she will be interested back.

picture courtesy of Timothy Lor

This year, I was able to go with some of my school friends. We stayed for a few hours: watching performances, eating food, and just hanging out around the ball toss area. It was a great time, and many funny things happened. I asked two of my friends (via text) about Hmong New Year. I asked: “How they felt about Hmong New Year?”, “What’s the experience like?”, and “What’s their most memorable memory?”

Timothy: “Hmong New Year has a feeling of excitement ready to be explored. There are many different variety of things, it is very impressive and fascinating. My experience at Hmong New Year felt very short as I had to leave early. Since I went with my friends from school and saw old friends from elementary, it was like walking into smiling faces with loud music. The most memorable moment from Hmong New Year was when a Hmong Chinese lady was singing. It was very graceful and pleasant hearing people cheer for other people, singing from all sorts of different ages, and seeing people that are not Hmong being there.”

Elizabeth: “Hmong New Year was alright for me, I liked it because I went with my friends, it’s better going with friends than going alone or with family because you’re more free. The experience was fun but tiring because we had walked around a lot. The most memorable memory for me was the food, they had really good food there.”