Multicolored flower garlands hung overhead, lanterns laid on the tables and music filled the air in the piazza as the Muslim Student Association and the South Asian Society came together to host their annual Eid Dinner and Henna Night on Saturday, Nov. 6.
The two clubs held a scaled-back Eid Night in 2020 with take-home henna and other activities, but the event this year is a return to years past. The clubs served trays of food like naan, samosas and chicken and had long lines for two henna artists.
Henna, also called mehndi, is a plant-based, temporary dye that can be used on the hair and skin and has been used for over 5,000 years in the Middle East and South Asia. While it was initially used medicinally, it has become an art form that is used during celebrations, particularly weddings.
The night was complete with a competitive trivia contest about Eid and henna with prizes for the top three winners.
Eid is a Muslim holiday, but working with the SAS brings more people to the event, not to mention that millions of Muslims live in South Asian countries. There are over two billion Muslims in the world, with over 40% of all Muslims living in Indonesia, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
“A lot of people in our clubs have the same background,” said Kripa Patel, a junior health science studies major and president of the SAS. “It’s nice for us all to get together and hang out.”
There are two different celebrations of Eid in Islam: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Fitr celebrates the end of Ramadan while Eid al-Adha is a commemoration of the near-sacrifice of Abraham’s son, Ishmael, to God. They are two of the most important holidays in Islam and date back to the time of Muhammad.
Although the two holidays occurred in May and July in 2021, Abdullah Farid, a junior biology major and president of the MSA, wanted to share a “beautiful, beautiful culture and time with friends and family” with the Quinnipiac University community.
Jacqui Vanchot, a senior interdisciplinary studies major, said that events like the Eid Dinner bring opportunities to take part in different cultures that aren’t always accessible at Quinnipiac.
“I don’t think that Quinnipiac does enough multicultural events,” Vanchot said. “It’s nice that (the SAS and MSA) are doing an event that everyone can come to. It’s like a form of celebration.”
While Eid is a religious holiday, members from the clubs encourage people who are not Muslim to come learn about different cultures through these events.
“Don’t be hesitant to come out because any multicultural org would love to have you,” Patel said. “We host events to teach, to spread our culture and to enjoy ourselves and to give you an enjoyable experience, so please come out. Don’t be hesitant. We are a loving community out here.”