Twice a year, the Muslim community around the world celebrates Eid. Families and friends come together for feasts, give each other gifts, and pray together. Eid al-Fitr, the festival of the breaking of the fast, celebrates generosity and gratitude. Eid al-Adha, the festival of sacrifice, is about helping those in need. While Eid is a very special time of year, for many children and adults, Eid parties may be overwhelming and stressful due to sensory sensitivity or sensory overload. A sensory-friendly Eid party is a solution.
What is sensory-rich about Eid parties?
It’s important to understand why Eid parties may be considered to be sensory-rich. The term sensory-rich suggests that an environment or experience stimulates one or multiple of the 8 senses. Oftentimes, this may cause people to experience a sensory overload response.
There are several reasons why Eid parties may be difficult for people with increased sensitivities. A common reason is the increased number of people attending this event. Crowds of people contribute to increased sound levels and less personal space. Additionally, being in an unfamiliar setting is often uncomfortable for people with greater sensitivities. Therefore, greeting distant family members and friends may feel uncomfortable for some people. However, it is important to note that regardless of your sensory sensitivities, you may find these types of environments and experiences overwhelming.
In addition to this, the visual decorations at Eid parties may be overwhelming for people with sensory processing disorders. Furthermore, the different types of food served at the Eid table may be unfamiliar and have strong scents. For many people with sensory sensitivities, trying new foods with different scents may contribute to feelings of sensory overload. Lastly, for people with tactile sensitivity, wearing special outfits for Eid celebrations may cause significant irritations.
How to create a sensory-friendly Eid party
Although it may feel difficult to have a sensory-friendly Eid party, there are several simple steps you can use to create a more accessible event that includes more guests. This will ensure that all your guests are able to celebrate comfortably.
Create a sensory-friendly environment
One of the first suggestions is to create a more sensory-friendly environment. As previously indicated, there are several sensory-rich environmental features at many Eid celebrations. Therefore, it is important to consider ways you can adapt the environment to be more sensory-friendly and relaxing. Consider the following:
- If possible, keep your guest list to a minimum to avoid crowded rooms.
- Avoid using bright fluorescent and flashing lights.
- Keep the décor more minimal.
- Reduce background music and try to keep conversation noise down.
- Try to serve food in an open area with good airflow to minimize strong smells.
- Provide comfortable seating options, like chairs with armrests.
- Ensure there is an accessible toilet available for guests during the celebration.
Create a dedicated quiet zone
An essential part of creating a sensory-friendly environment is having a designated quiet zone. This is a specific area that is for silence for your guests to retreat if they want a break from the main event space. Ideally, the area should be closed off from the rest of the event to avoid additional noise. Furthermore, within this space, it is recommended to provide comfortable seating options and sensory-friendly tools to help create a more relaxing experience.
Develop a schedule of your event
A common stressor for people with sensory sensitivities is feeling uncomfortable and stressed not knowing the structure of the day. Therefore, an effective way to make your celebration more sensory-friendly is by creating a simple schedule for the event to share with your guests beforehand. For example, on this schedule, share the time meals times, dedicated prayer times and gift-giving times. Ultimately, this will help your guests create expectations for how the event will unfold to reduce stress.
Provide sensory toys and tools
Another strategy to help make your Eid event more sensory-friendly is through providing guests with a variety of sensory toys and tools. For example, this may include having noise-cancelling headphones, fidgets and weighted lap pads. It is important to understand that your guests will all have different sensory preferences.
Therefore, providing guests with sensory-friendly toys and tools will help create a more comfortable setting.
Accommodate your guests’ preferences
Lastly, it is important to be considerate of other people’s differing sensory preferences. For example, some guests may bring their own food to the celebration! Other guests may not stay for the entirety of the event. Additionally, some guests may prefer contactless and sensory-friendly greetings. By recognizing how sensory preferences may impact behaviour, you will help create a more accessible event for everyone!
By hosting a sensory-friendly Eid party, you will ensure that all guests can enjoy the celebration. Interested in learning more ways you can adapt your Muslim celebrations? Then, check out:
- 5 Steps to a Sensory-Friendly Ramadan
- How to Offer a Sensory-Friendly Taraweeh Prayer
- Host a Sensory-Friendly Iftaar Party
- How to Manage Sensory Overload at the Mosque
- Five Steps to a Sensory-Friendly Eid
- How to Offer a Sensory-Friendly Eid Prayer
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