SASA Celebrates South Asian Culture at Eid-Diwali Dinner

Oscar Kim Bauman, Scarlet Staff

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Tilton Hall was packed on November 9th as members of the Clark community gathered for the South Asian Student Association’s Eid-Diwali Dinner. The event, which commemorates two of the most important holidays celebrated by South Asians, was packed with musical and dance performances from members of SASA, as well as an assortment of South Asian foods.  

The dinner celebrated the holidays of Diwali and Eid al-Adha. Diwali is a Hindu holiday which honors the goddess Lakshmi and is celebrated with a variety of lights, such as the festive lanterns which could be seen throughout Tilton Hall. Eid al-Adha is an Islamic holiday which commemorates sacrifice and features celebrations and food such as that seen at the dinner. Both Hinduism and Islam are prominent religions in South Asia. SASA hosts a joint event “to unite the South Asian population in our community,” said SASA First Year Representative Loobna Zahan.  

All proceeds from the event went to the Worcester Refugee Assistance Project (WRAP), and their efforts to help Burmese refugees establish lives in the Worcester area. WRAP had a booth at the event, and gave out information cards and collected donations throughout the night. In accordance with the idea of aiding refugees, SASA placed information cards raising awareness about ethnic and religious minorities in South Asia at each table.

The night was steered along by two MCS, Sophomore Eesha Kashif, and Junior Darshan Mody. The MCs bantered with each other, informed the audience, and introduced a variety of dance and musical performances. Several different groups among SASA’s membership were singled out for dance performances, including members of the E-board, first years, and both male and female members.  

Several members of SASA also presented musical performances. First-year student Natalia Khan sang without any instrumental accompaniment, impressing the crowd. Senior Zohaib Bilal sang and played guitar, and even gave an encore, knowing this would be his last chance to perform at the Eid-Diwali dinner. Asir Arif, also a senior, performed an original rap song about his cultural identity and even gave in to pressure from the crowd to freestyle after.

The event was well-received by students for both its entertainment value and its cultural importance. “The food was great, and the performances were really fun to watch,” said first year student Adam Jamal.

“A lot of places don’t have celebrations for Islamic holidays, and I, as a Muslim, felt kind of left out. It was nice to see my own culture celebrated by so many people,” he said.