On November 6th, the South Asian Student Association (SASA) organized their Annual Eid-Diwali Dinner in the Tilton Hall. This event aims to celebrate two of the most popular cultural festivals in the South Asian Subcontinent.
Diwali is one of the largest and brightest festivals in India. It spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair.
Eid-al-Adha also called the Sacrifice Feast or Bakr-Eid is the second of two religious holidays celebrated by Muslims worldwide each year. It honors the willingness of Abraham (Ibrahim) to sacrifice his son, as an act of submission to God’s command, before God then intervened, through his angel Jibra’il and informs him that his sacrifice has already been accepted.
The event, free for all Clark students, was completely jam-packed. All the guests were welcomed into the venue with traditional greetings and tikka, a red powder applied to the forehead symbolizing a traditional Hindu welcome. It commenced with recitations of both Hindu and Islamic prayers by students. Following the prayers was an array of performances by students.
The performances were halted for a bit for the food break, where a traditional South Asian dinner was served free of cost. While I did not get to try out the food, I did go around the tables asking people how they liked the food. The response was fairly positive, though some of my girlfriends were too busy freaking out about the level of spiciness of the food.
Later, the performance continued with a few more singing acts, including myself, and a senior student dance. The show ended with a wonderful performance by the SASA E-board. The night was a great success; the attendees were not just South Asians but a diverse mix of students, alumni and faculty. It made me really happy to see that everyone actually took out time to respect our culture and tried to dress in traditional South Asian clothing. Around 60 Clarkies were involved in the entire process of making it such a great night. From the dancers to the choreographers, the entire night was student run.
I haven’t been home for Diwali in 4 years now, and that entire period around Diwali is probably one of the most difficult ones for me. Homesickness and nostalgia take over. I look forward to Eid-Diwali every year because for that brief period of time, all is forgotten when I see the entire community coming together and celebrating culture and traditions, just like we do it at home.
This was my last Eid-Diwali as a Clarkie, and I have some of my best memories attached to this day. While it will be really sad not being to celebrate and be part of this event next year, I hope that the culture and community keep thriving on the Clark campus. And that Eid-Diwali continues to make incoming and present minority students feel at home and create their own lifelong memories!
(Cover photo by Demet Senturk)