MayurSASA showcases Diwali, Eid

A member of MayurSASA performs traditional Indian dances. Similar dance performances will be a part of the Diwali and Eid festivals. (credit: Kristen Severson/Assistant) A member of MayurSASA performs traditional Indian dances. Similar dance performances will be a part of the Diwali and Eid festivals. (credit: Kristen Severson/Assistant)

Carnegie Mellon’s MayurSASA will be hosting a joint celebration of Diwali and Eid ul-Fitr in the University Center’s Wiegand Gym on Thursday. The event will feature games, crafts, live performances, and a buffet of South Indian fare.

The games and crafts portion of the event will include diya-making, where attendees can make their own candles. This part of the evening will also include lessons in raas, a type of dance that originated in India. The section is specifically geared toward entertaining younger participants.

Some of Carnegie Mellon’s premier dancing and singing groups will be making an appearance at the event as part of the live performance portion. Chak De, a bhangra dance group; Tufaan, another dance troupe; and Deewane, a South Asian all-male a capella group, will each showcase its talents throughout the celebration.

A second part of the evening’s performance portion will include prayers for both Diwali and Eid. MayurSASA members will present a short speech that will explain both of the events’ histories and what they represent to South Asian culture.

Diwali, the first religious celebration of the event, is an Indian festival also known as the “Festival of Lights.” Translated from Sanskrit, Diwali literally means “row of lamps.” The festival is celebrated differently throughout the world. The main focus of the festival is to rejoice in the “Inner Light,” or self. Furthermore, the event celebrates the triumph of good over evil.

The second religious celebration will center on Eid ul-Fitr. Usually abbreviated to Eid, this holiday marks the end of Ramadan, or the Muslim holy month of fasting. Eid, like Diwali, celebrates a blessed period of forgiveness. The holiday is also celebrated on a global scale.

Shilpa Balaji, a junior computer science major, appreciated that MayurSASA wanted to celebrate the religious holidays, but was skeptical of how pious the events might actually be.

“It’s great that clubs are trying to offer outlets for religious individuals. But, just as in every religious community, there is a risk of insincerity,” she said. “If organizations are going to put themselves forward with intentions of upholding religious beliefs, the members of the organizations should be aware of how their actions in the college community relate to their actions in their cultural and religious organization.”

An Udupi buffet will also be a part of the evening’s events. This type of food gets its name from Udupi, a town on the southwest coast of India. The food traditionally includes dishes made from beans, grains, vegetables, and fruits; Udupi is vegetarian-friendly. The buffet will cost $10, and tickets will be available for purchase during the week.

Since this event is a combination of two celebrations, MayurSASA members wanted to ensure that there would be educational opportunities for participants about the history and meaning of the two festivals. MayurSASA President Anisha Vyas, a junior biomedical and mechanical engineering dual major, said that his organization will be displaying facts about both festivals on the Cut throughout the week. This way even students who cannot attend the celebrations can still learn about both events.