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Make an Eid lantern

Celebrate Eid al-Fitr by learning about Islam and making a lantern.

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You’ll need

  • Scissors
  • A4 paper
  • Coloured pens or pencils
  • Rulers
  • Sticky tape
  • String

Before you begin

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. There's also more guidance to help you carry out your risk assessment, including examples. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
  • Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers.

Islam’s the second largest religion in the world. It has over one billion followers, who are called Muslims. There are five pillars of Islam: the declaration of faith (Shahadah), praying five times a day (Salat), giving money to charity (Zakat), fasting (Sawm) and pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj).

The five pillars of Islam provide a framework for a Muslim’s whole life – it’s about putting their faith first, not trying to fit their faith around the rest of their life.

One of the pillars, Sawm, is about fasting during the month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is the ninth and holiest month of the Islamic year. It lasts for around 30 days and is measured from one sighting of the crescent Moon to the next.

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. It’s agreed that several groups of people aren’t required to fast, including children, the elderly, people who are menstruating, pregnant, or breastfeeding, and people who are ill.

The nightly meal that breaks the fast after sunset is called Iftar. At the end of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr.

The sky’s really important in Islam. The Sun determines prayer times, the stars can be used to find the Qibla (the direction of Mecca, which Muslims pray to), and the Moon’s used to work out the Islamic calendar.

Seeing the moon is important to mark the start and end of Ramadan. The Prophet Muhammad founded the Islamic calendar, which is based on the movement of the Moon. The new crescent Moon marks the start of a new month, whether it’s seen on day 29 or day 30 of the month.

Eid al-Fitr means the ‘festival of breaking the fast’. It marks the end of fasting for Ramadan. Ramadan is a very spiritual month for Muslims, where they abstain from food during daylight hours to spend time on self reflection and gratitude.

As soon as the moon is sighted, Eid al-Fitr begins. Many people celebrate Eid al-Fitr by spending time together, exchanging gifts and visiting friends and family. This often includes eating lots of sweet food, which represents celebration, such as baklava, dates, and Turkish delight. They are also given as gifts.

To wish someone a 'happy Eid' you say 'Eid Mubarak!'

  

Introducing the activity

  1. Gather everyone together and ask if anyone knows what Eid is.
  2. Explain that Eid is celebrated in Islam. Islam’s the second largest religion in the world. It has over one billion followers, who are called Muslims.
  3. Ramadan is the ninth and holiest month of the Islamic year. It lasts for around 30 days and is measured from one sighting of the crescent Moon to the next. Eid al-Fitr, which means festival of breaking the fast, marks the end of fasting for Ramadan. As soon as the moon is sighted, Eid al-Fitr begins. Many people celebrate Eid al-Fitr by spending time together, exchanging gifts and visiting friends and family. This often includes eating lots of sweet food, which represents celebration - foods like baklava, dates, and Turkish delight are given as gifts. To wish someone a 'happy Eid' you say 'Eid Mubarak!'

Make the lantern

  1. Everyone should take a piece of paper.
  2. Draw a line around three centimetres in from the shorter edge of the paper. Cut off the strip and tell people to keep it somewhere safe, as it’ll become a handle later.
  3. Put the remaining paper face down on a flat surface so it’s horizontal, with the longest edge closest to you.
  4. Fold the paper in half from top to bottom to make a long strip with the undecorated side of the paper hidden inside the fold.
  5. Make sure the folded edge is closest to you. Draw a line about three centimetres from one edge of the paper – the line should start at the fold and extend around three quarters of the way up the paper, leaving a gap of about three centimetres at the top.
  6. Continue drawing lines every three to four centimetres. Make sure they start at the folded edge and extend about three quarters of the way up. Don’t worry if the last strip’s not exactly the right width.
  7. Cut along the lines, starting at the fold. Make sure you stop before you reach the top of the paper!
  8. Open up the paper. Glue the shorter sides together to make a cylinder. Add sticky tape at the top, bottom, and middle to hold it together if you need to.
  9. Use glue or tape to attach the handle you made in step two to the top of the lantern.
  10. People could decorate the lantern with pens, sequins, or other craft materials.
  11. Remind everyone to not use candles or flames with the lantern, as it’s a fire risk. You could use LED electrical tea lights instead.
A hand holding an orange lantern made from paper cut into strips.
An image of a completed lantern.

Reflection

This activity was about sharing light, as a symbol of hope for others - what else could you do that does this? What did you learn about Eid al-Fitr that has connected with you the most? It is about reflecting on what you are grateful for, how could you do this for yourself today? What's the importance of people coming together for a celebration? 

Safety

All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Scissors

Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

For younger age groups, you could cut the pieces of paper in advance so everyone can get stuck into colouring or decorating their lantern and sticking it together. 

Some people might need help with cutting or measuring. For those who need support with spelling you could write out the words you have just learned for them to copy them onto their lanterns.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Can you tell a story with your lanterns by stringing them up together?

You could try some festive foods. Try some baklava or make some biscuits in the shape of the crescent moon, or take a look at Iftar under the stars for recipes for pakoras and date shakes. 

Check out our lovely activity Henna hands and learn how to decorate your hands using meaningful symbols and designs

The young people should decide what their lantern looks like and what words matter to them.