Valentine’s Day is this Friday. It is a day to celebrate romance in many regions around the world and slowly starting to make it’s way into the Arab culture.
Children, where I currently live, give each other miniature Valentine’s Day cards in school, often attached to candy. Sometimes they build little mailboxes to collect these mini cards on their school desks.
This year, due to the severe snow storm that has hit our area, my daughters will not be at school. I decided to make them the mini cards so they could exchange them with neighborhood friends.
Of course, I had to add an Arabic twist. Each card has a little bit of fun with the alphabet. I used the same letters from my Arabic Parents Guide.
The story starts with meeting Maya and Neel, who live in Chicago, and their squirrel friend Chintu. They all travel to India to learn about Diwali, India’s biggest festival, also called the Festival of Lights.
They meet their mausi (Hindi for aunt), who shares the origins of Diwali. She then shows them the five days of how this special event is celebrated. As each day is shared, Hindi words are italicized. Hindi is a language of Indo-European origin spoken widely in India.
One of the things I appreciated was having a Hindi pronunciation guide right at the front of the book. This allowed us to practice a few of the words before my daughter and I read it together. Usually such information is placed in the back of the book, but it was a great idea to change it up.
The back of the book has a story recap, along with blank pages for kids to fill out. There is a lined sheet for them to write their own Diwali story, as well as a number of pages for drawing some of the new things the kids saw.
I shared the book with our neighbor, who celebrates Diwali, and she was excited to help me put together a special word search. My daughter and I hope to continue to practice these words so we can use them when Diwali occurs at the end of the year.
You can download the Celebrate Diwali Word Search here.
Be sure to check out our other Multicultural Children’s Book Day Reviews
Next Tuesday the western world will start a new year: 2019.
However, 1.75 billion Muslims worldwide are still in 1440 AH and the Islamic New Year doesn’t start until September 2019.
The first Islamic year began in 622 AD with the emigration of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) from Mecca to Medina, known as the Hijra. Thus the Islamic new year is sometimes called Hijri New Year, written in Arabic like this رأس السنة الهجرية and pronounced as Raʼs al-Sanah al-Hijrīyah.
The first day of the year is observed on the first day of Muharram,
the first month in the Islamic calendar. The other months are:
A few years ago, I found this wonderful way to explain the two calendars to my children.
I am so pleased that the author, Latifah Ibrahi, has created a new one, free for download here.
Don’t forget to support this wonderful business who is offering this service.