Activity #1 - Lunar or Solar Calendars
Ramadan is the perfect time to teach students about the different ways humans have used to tell on day, week, and month from another. Begin by explaining to the class that while traditionally in our culture, as well as internationally for business, we use the Gregorian calendar which has 12 months based on the cycle of the sun. Other cultures use the cycle of the moon, including Islam. The Islamic calendar is called the Hijra calendar.
To tell if a date is in the present time, as opposed to ancient times, we put CE after the year. CE stands for Common Era. In the Hijra calendar, the dates are followed by AH, which stand for After Hijra. Hijra is the historical event that is associated with the migration of the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, where he established the first Islamic government in the year 622 CE. The word hijra is translated from Arabic to mean migration.
The first day of the week is Sunday and is called in Arabic, First Day. The month names have meanings that correspond to various events or times of year. This handout gives both the names in English, Arabic as well as the definitions.
Have students brainstorm recent historical events with day, month and year listed. Then, using a calendar converter (these can be found online) find the corresponding Hijra date. For instance, the man landed on the moon on 20 - July - 1969 CE, which is Sunday 5 Jumaada al-awal 1389 AH.
Have students create timeline cards with their historic event, the date from both Gregorian and Hijra calendars. They can illustrate their event if they wish. Hang the cards in chronological order.