Last week the South Asian Students Association (SASA) got together to throw their biggest event of the year, their annual Eid Diwali Dinner! Tilton Hall turned into a mini South Asian hub overnight, with a gorgeously decorated mosque as the stage backdrop and sarees and lights draped all over.
Every year, this event celebrates two of the biggest religious festivals in South Asia—Eid and Diwali. Eid-al-Adha commemorates the sacrifice once made by Ibrahim in order to prove his devotion to Allah, and Diwali is the festival of lights that celebrates the return of Lord Ram after defeating Ravan.
The evening started with prayers led by our fellow Clarkies and preceded with melodious song covers, exciting dance performances and fun skits that told the history of Eid and Diwali. The crowd cheered and laughed as the performers carried them through a mesmerizing journey of South Asian culture.
The dinner, being the most anticipated part of the event, was catered by our local New House of India. The menu featured delicious Indian cuisine and ranged from naan to chicken korma to kheer (rice pudding desert). As the audience let out sighs of satisfaction, the SASA e-board enjoyed seeing their weeks of hard work come to life and put a smile on everyone’s face.
Events like these attract attendees from all different cultures here at Clark. This was the third Eid Diwali dinner I attended and the second that I helped organize. Each year I prepare myself to expect things I had experienced in the past Eid Diwali and each year I come out of the event feeling better than I did the year before. I love how Clark’s diversity and acceptance of diversity grows on you, but it also never fails amaze you with how people love teaching you about new cultures just as much as they love learning them.
I’ve always loved how holidays and their festivities bring people together regardless of all their differences. Each year I attend Eid Diwali and I love seeing how everyone finds a little bit of their own traditions and festivities while celebrating the South Asian ones. And amidst all the exchanging conversations about Christmas, Thanksgiving, Eids and Diwalis, we unite as simple human beings who love being happy and love spreading it around.
I applaud the South Asian Students Association for putting on a great event, once again! And I thank everyone who came to it to make it even bigger and better than last year. It’s always good to appreciate and reflect on these memories we make in college, because these are the ones that go on to shape us as individuals.
Personally, these are some of the moments and experiences that make being a Clarkie a bigger portion of my identity each day and I am proud of it. With plenty more holidays and traditions coming I hope we all have a blast celebrating them. Happy holidays everyone!
By Suaida Firoze
Photos by Demet Senturk