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Eid-Diwali Dinner Shines in Tilton Hall

SASA celebrates their culture with fellow Clarkies

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Zohaib Bilal ('19) performs at the Celebration

Zohaib Bilal ('19) performs at the Celebration

Krithi Vachaspati

Krithi Vachaspati

Zohaib Bilal ('19) performs at the Celebration

Giulia Elena Casella, News Editor

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The South Asian Students Association (SASA) lit up Tilton Hall for their Eid-Diwali Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 11. The club hosted its biggest event of the year, which celebrates two major festivals among two prominent religions in South Asia, Islam and Hinduism.

Guests could feel the incredible energy that filled the venue as soon as they entered, with upbeat Hindi and Bengali songs playing in the background, and SASA as well as many audience members in colorful traditional outfits such as the salwar kameez and the kurta.

The space was intricately decorated with beautiful tapestries which people used as backdrops for pictures throughout the evening, as well as with paper cut-outs of distinct attractions found in South Asia on the walls and windows, such as the Taj Mahal.

On each table was a card with a brief description of the Muslim festival Eid and the Hindu festival Diwali, which the club also explained to their audience through a dialogue and a skit, respectively.

As the centerpiece explained, “Eid al-Adha…honors the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his promised son, Ishmael, as an act of submission to God’s command. God, however, then intervened to provide Abraham with a lamb to sacrifice instead.” On the card’s flipside, Diwali was explained: “The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair.”

Before the Eid dialogue and Diwali skit, Manahil Mir (’19) and Maham Imtiaz (’21) recited the Eid prayer, followed by Amritesh Singh (’20), Shrivats Saharia (’19), and Meyru Bhanti (’18) who recited the Diwali prayer. As hosts Maha Akbar (’20) and Darshan Mody (’20) mentioned, SASA decided to pair the more educational Eid dialogue and Diwali skit with their respective, more intimate prayers. They explained they not only wanted this event to be a chance for the club members to celebrate the festivals, but they also wanted it to be an opportunity for them to share their unique and diverse culture with the Clark community.

SASA’s President Tenzing Ngodup Gurung (’19) and Vice-President Kubahan Ryan Giambrone (’19) also took centerstage. They thanked SASA members for their dedication, the audience for their support, and wished the audience to enjoy the entertainments to follow. Most notably, Giambrone discussed the event’s admission fee ($3 for Clarkies and $5 fee for non-Clarkies). He said that the proceeds will aid the Rohingya refugees fleeing from Myanmar into Bangladesh, and that SASA chose to do so because “everyone deserves the right to live, no matter their religion.”

As a final statement before the performances, the two hosts reminded their audience that SASA had created their own Snapchat Geofilter, and they encouraged all their guests to share their experience with their friends and family on social media.

The SASA E-board opened the performances to come with their own dance, one that transmitted the pride and excitement they felt for their culture and event to their audience. From the back one could see all the phones held up to take pictures and videos, the photographers moving around the room to find the best angles for their pictures, and SASA, as well as audience members, cheering on their friends who had taken the stage. The E-board dance was followed by the first-year dance, and then the couples dance, both equally as spirited and appreciated as the first performance.

Akbar and Mody then announced that dinner would be served, a part of the evening their large crowd was very much looking forward to. The delicious buffet-style meal included various spicy meat and vegetarian side and main dishes, as well as a crowd favorite dessert, gulab jamun.

Dinner was followed by more entertainment, and SASA opened this final part of the evening with the perfect choice, an original Hindi song performed by Zohaib Bilal (’19). This was followed by the boys’ dance, the girls’ dance, and finally the very special senior dance. Guest Tracy Graham (’19) particularly enjoyed the senior dance: “the last dance of the night was super fun to watch because everyone moved really well together and had so much happy energy,” said Graham.

Ralitza Mondal (’19), another audience member, was pleased with SASA’s Eid-Diwali Dinner. “I think it was an overall very energetic event with great food and music,” said Mondal.

Mir attributed the event’s success also to the E-board members. “We were all on the same page, and were being so supportive of each other,” said Mir. “Just the way we communicate with each other is super efficient and respectful.”

“The whole night was full of dancing and laughing and enjoying good food with good company, and I think that means the event was a huge success,” said Mir. “It made me so happy to be part of an amazing club.”

 

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Eid-Diwali Dinner Shines in Tilton Hall