This guest blog was written by Hira Rizvi from Zair Zabr Play.
You might have already heard about Purple Ramadan spear headed by Manal at Hello Holy Days. The most prominent place it’s been featured is in her line of Ramadan inspired décor with Crate and Kids. If you don’t know what purple Ramadan is, it is as simple as it sounds. It’s a social initiative to incorporate purple into Ramadan related items in an attempt to give the holiday a cohesive feeling across cultures.
I’m not going to lie, initially when I saw the posts about purple Ramadan, I dismissed it as just another trend or fad for this year. However during an Instagram live with Sudduf, Manal gave us insight into not only the reasoning behind Purple Ramadan but also an explanation of how she came to decide on each component.
Why do we need purple Ramadan?
I like being unique, so I was very hesitant about having a single color assigned to the holiday. Do we really need a color? Why can’t our islamic symbols be enough? But studies hold more weight than opinions. Manal discussed that 75% of the Muslim moms in North America ranked the lack of symbols, colors and tradition as an issue with Muslim holidays.
And it makes sense. Kids get excited over the mainstream holidays. Mainstream holidays have a clear identity with unique colors associated with them. For example, Valentine’s day is red or pink. When you see those colors you are immediately able to identify the holiday. Therefore, to get kids excited about Muslim holidays we need to make them mainstream. To make them mainstream we need to give them an identity, which includes a unique color scheme.
Why Purple though?
Manal did an amazing job explaining this on the live and on her blog. She didn’t just pick it because it was her favorite color! Instead she researched as to how certain colors became associated with each holiday. She wanted to find color that represented Ramadan and was still unique. She decided to choose purple because:
- Purple is the color of the night and twilight (the time when we break fast and perform most of our prayers happen).
- Thanks to Aladdin, purple is subconsciously already a Muslim color in western culture
- Purple is a royal color, and Ramadan has been referred to the Sultan of the 12 months
Looking at Manal’s line at Crate and Kids, you’ll notice she uses plenty of other colors to compliment the purple. The idea is to have purple be the main color for the holiday but additional colors allow us to add our own spin and style to it.
What is the Ramadan Drummer and why do we need him?
Before listening to Manal speak, I had serious reservations about the Ramadan Drummer. Personally, I didn’t want a human figure for my daughter to look up to in Islam because it can give a confusing message. However, Manal makes some really good arguments (that are backed by research) for why the Ramadan Drummer is a good choice.
Why do we even need a character and why are symbols not enough?
Manal referred to her study of Muslim Mom’s in North America who expressed their wish that they had something similar to Santa Clause for their kids. Though symbols can represent a holiday well, it isn’t relatable to children. Symbols can be abstract and make it hard for young children to make the connection. Though I have some reservations, I think it is a valid reason to pursue the Ramadan Drummer!
Origins of the Ramadan Drummer
In many cultures, before dawn a man (or woman) would go around waking up people to remind them to fast. In some cultures they would carry a drum and sing songs of encouragement to motivate others to fast. Manal decided to pursue it as her character because it was common to most Islamic cultures and directly related to fasting,
The Ramadan Drummer was popularized in the Ottoman Empire in Western History. So the time period served as the inspiration for his costume. She wanted the Ramadan drummer to represent Ramadan the way Santa Clause represents Christmas. That is why she used purple as the main color in his costume and his beard as brown to represent dates.
Why this is more than a passing trend?
The reason purple Ramadan stands out compared to other trends is the hard work that Manal has put into it. Her choices are a good fit for Ramadan and culturally universal. Personally, I found her research on other holidays absolutely fascinating. She has put thought behind each and every decision: from the color purple to the color of the Ramadan drummer’s beard. The reasoning is the what makes me want to support it, despite my hesitations!
Do you plan to have Purple Ramadan be part of your celebrations? Do you like the Ramadan Drummer?
Hira Rizvi is the proud mama of a 3 year old girl. She lives in Napa, California and is a stem cell scientist that decided to study public health when her daughter was born. She is the owner of Zair Zabr Play, a business geared towards creating muslim activities that are cute and functional. The motto is to Learn while you Play, Play while you learn! Currently she has the My First Quran Activity Book: A hands on way to teach the stories of the Quran to young kids. You can find her on facebook and instagram.