Eat for Eid

Ashley Pelletier

The sounds of music, friends and celebration filled the air. The smell of food wafted through the air of the piazza while people came together and enjoyed themselves.

The Muslim Student Association and the South Asian Society came together on Friday, Sept. 27, to host their annual Eid Dinner and Henna Night. The Eid Dinner was held to celebrate Eid al-Adha, the “Festival of Sacrifice,” which took place from the evening of Saturday, Aug. 10, to the evening of Sunday, Aug. 11. Eid al-Adha is the second Eid celebrated in the Islamic calendar, the first being Eid al-Fitr. 

“Islam is a religion and there are so many different cultures that fall under it,” Uswa Hanif, vice president of the Muslim Student Association, said. According to Pew Research Center, there were about 1.6 billion Muslims around the world. It is the second-largest religion behind Christianity. Over 60% of all Muslim’s live in Indonesia, India or another South Asian country. 

Tables in the piazza were filled with people eating naan, Luqmat al-Qadi and many other traditional foods. Candy and coloring pages covered the tables, free for people to make use of. A polaroid photo booth was open to take pictures in, and a free raffle for AirPods was offered. 

Prizes were given to the winners of a Kahoot based on South Asian and Islamic cultures. The questions centered mainly around the traditions of Eid and henna, but included other aspects of Islamic and South Asian cultures. 

The two henna artists that were available had long lines of people waiting to get designs of their choice. Henna is a plant-based dye that is used to create traditional temporary body art and  is most commonly used on the hair and feet, but can be used on the hair and nails as well. Henna is known as Mehndi in Hindu and is used for celebrations such as weddings and births. Henna designs can include flowers, animals and other elements of nature. 

“We want people to understand the meaning of Eid and what Islam is about,” Irsa Awan, president of the Muslim Student Association, said. 

Eid al-Adha is the remembrance of the prophet, Abraham, and his willingness to sacrifice his own son, Ishmael, in a test from God. Abraham almost went through with the sacrifice, but was stopped by God when he passed His test. 

The event had a much larger turnout than in previous years due to the teamwork of the Muslim Student Association and the South Asian Society. The dinner has previously been held in SC 120, but took place in the piazza this year. Many students learned about the event through the groups’ respective Instagram pages.

“I am not just walking away with a full stomach of really great food and a beautiful henna design on my hand,” Skylar Haines, a first-year journalism major, said. “I am walking out of tonight with a great feeling of community and intercultural understanding.”

“We really try to preach that [the event] is not just for Muslims,” Hanif said. “Anybody can join.” 

The event brought people together, but was also informative for people who had never been exposed to Islamic or South Asian culture. 

The Muslim Student Association meets bi-weekly at a predetermined location and the South Asian Society also meets bi-weekly at a predetermined location. The South Asian Society has a celebration of the Indian holiday Navratri called Garba on Oct. 11, in Burt Kahn Court.