Category Archives: Ramadan

Under the Crescent Moon

Ramadan moves through the year, each year earlier and earlier, and this year it begins with the sighting of this month’s new crescent moon, which in most places is expected to be this evening, this 12th of April. It’s not so much that Ramadan moves around as that it always comes in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and the calendar, being a lunar one, operates differently from solar calendars. Ramadan was a summer holiday a few years ago, and now it is a spring holiday, and it won’t be long before it is a winter one… and sometimes Ramadan can come twice in a solar year, which will happen next in 2030, when it will be celebrated in January and again the following December.

Ah, but now it is spring and now comes Ramadan and with it, Muslims will fast during the daylight hours and eat and drink only when the sun is down, all through this month from one crescent moon sighting to the next. It is a time of reflection, a time of thankfulness, a time to gather with family, and a time, more so than other times of the year, for good deeds. Before the sun rises each day, many families will enjoy a big meal called suhoor, a meal meant to sustain through the day. (This is definitely not the time for a slice of buttered toast for a pre-dawn breakfast!) And once the sun sets again, the fast is broken with a sweet delectable date, followed by a meal called iftar.

With the sighting of the next crescent moon, this year in May, Ramadan will conclude with a big feast called Eid al-Fitr: the Sweet Festival. Our friend Manal Aman of Hello Holy Days! in Canada has for years been following her calling to make these holidays mainstream, something familiar to us all. She designs cards for Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, and other products, too, like countdown calendars and gift bags. Her work is gorgeous, and, I think, so important in helping us build bridges rather than walls. We sell her cards at Convivio Bookworks and encourage you to have a look and if you know people who celebrate these holidays, join us in sending them greetings. In fact, this year, we are participating in Manal’s Great Big Eid Card Swap and we’ve been buddied-up with a pen pal in Jackson Heights, New York. I am putting our card in the post today. You’ve got a whole month––all the way until the next crescent moon––to do the same for your friends who are celebrating. And when you do, tell them, “Ramadan Mubarak!”

Shop our collection of Manal’s cards for this season of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr by clicking here. And back in November, Manal interviewed me on Instagram TV for her series ahead of Small Business Saturday; we had a fun time chatting about the book arts, about my mom, about our Shaker Rose Water and my experience as a print intern at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community, and why it’s so important to us to carry Manal’s work in our shop. You can watch the 30-minute interview by clicking here.


Rounding Out April

April is soon coming to a close, and I apologize, I’ve definitely fallen off the ball with Book of Days updates since Easter. Since then, St. George’s Day has come and gone, as has the mysterious St. Mark’s Eve and his day, too, and hopefully the people of Venice were able to make risi e bisi, their traditional meal for the day, a risotto of rice and peas with pancetta and onion. I, for one, have been cooking up a storm (Sunday I made tomato sauce and a cardamom pear coffee cake) and one big question is once I switch back from trousers with drawstrings to trousers that have actual buttons and zippers, will I have to leave that top button open? The cat seems to like us being home, too; she now takes an additional meal at 2 in the afternoon.

Ramadan began this past week, too. A central aspect of this month-long celebration is daytime fasting. The fasting is a reminder of the many people who are less fortunate than ourselves, and in this strange time of home quarantine and isolation, it is good to remember this. It is so very easy to get caught up in our own troubles, no? Chances are extremely good that there is always someone having a much rougher day than we are. Why not then be kind and patient with everyone? This is a central aspect of Ramadan, but it should just as well be a central premise of living for us all.

Ramadan continues until the next crescent moon, when Eid al-Fitr, the Sweet Festival, begins. Beautiful Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr cards, all by our friend Manal Aman of Hello Holy Days! in Canada, are available at our online catalog, and right now they are all 15% off with code SPRING15 (through April 30). Other spring and summer items are included, as well as all of our handmade soaps. Plus free domestic shipping when you spend $50 across our catalog.

One last thing today: working from home has meant finding creative solutions to new challenges. One of my challenges as Director of the Jaffe Center for Book Arts at Florida Atlantic University Libraries is to maintain a connection with our students and our book arts enthusiasts, and so last month, despite my stage fright, I began a weekly Facebook Live broadcast called Book Arts 101: Home Edition, which airs live on the Facebook page of the Jaffe Center for Book Arts each Wednesday at 3 PM Eastern Daylight Time. We talk books and craft and stories and the broadcasts originate here, at the Convivio Bookworks studio. Basically, if it’s in my home or on the premises, it’s fair game. This Wednesday’s episode is going to be a love letter, of sorts, to Lake Worth, the quirky town we call home. I’ll be showing and talking about things in our home that were made in Lake Worth or that delve into its history. If you’re a fan of my Convivio Dispatches from Lake Worth, you’ll probably enjoy Wednesday’s broadcast. And if you’re not familiar with the Dispatches, you can check one out by clicking here. The Convivio Dispatch is quite a different animal than this blog. The Dispatches are more based in story, and they are not collected in a blog, but rather come to you as a very occasional email, as they always have.

Anyway, won’t you join us on Wednesday? If you can’t make it at 3 Eastern, worry not, the videos are later available at the Convivio Bookworks Facebook page. There have been four so far, and we’ll continue them for as long as they feel needed.


It’s a Sale!

It’s pretty rare Convivio Bookworks runs a sale, but we won’t be popping up this spring at pop-up markets, and here we are with all these wonderful Ukrainian pysanky eggs that just arrived, and all those beautiful handmade sturdy paper egg containers from Germany (great places to stash your jelly beans and malted eggs). We also have cards you’re not likely to find elsewhere for Ramadan, and there’s a brand new Swedish maypole decoration for Midsummer, and these fine handmade artisan goods are not going to do anyone any good sitting in our little house ’til next year. So we’re giving you 15% everything in our Spring & Summer collection, 15% off all of our Ramadan cards from Manal Aman of Hello Holy Days! fame, and while we’re at it, since soap is so important right now, 15% off all of our handmade soaps from local soap maker Kelly Sullivan and from Brother Andrew at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community in Maine (as well as their delightful new culinary lavender that’s in a brown paper bag tied up with string).

Click here to get to the Convivio Book of Days Catalog; use code SPRING15 when you check out. Plus we’ll give you FREE SHIPPING on domestic orders when you spend $50. (And our flat rate shipping is only $8.50 if you don’t spend $50.) We ship Priority Mail so you’ll have your order in time for Easter. If you’re in Lake Worth Beach, let us know and we’ll deliver your order to your front porch for free no matter how much you spend (we’ll deduct the shipping charge if you spend less than $50).

Your orders support what may just be the smallest company on the planet, as well as all the artisans we buy from… most of them are folks we know by name. That support is greatly appreciated at times like this, so thank you.