The Center for Diversity & Community was packed with almost 60 people Monday night for the 2nd annual Eid al-Adha dinner celebration, hosted by the Muslim Students Association.
Eid al-Adha is the Muslim Holy Day or Festival of the Sacrifice, which commemorates Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Ishmael to God. This holiday overlaps the period of Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, said Muslim Student Association adviser Musheera Anis. More than 2 million Muslims perform the pilgrimage to Mecca, and those who cannot celebrate at home, sacrifice an animal and distribute the meat amongst friends, neighbors and family.
Like any holiday, Eid al-Adha is a time of getting together and celebrating with family. This year, the holiday started on Sunday and will end Thursday evening.
The food was provided by Aramark, though some attendees brought homemade dishes of their own. The main dish was kabsa rice, salad, iced tea, and baklava, a dessert.
Aafaque Aafaque, vice president of the Muslim Students Association (MSA), said that there are many people who come to the dinner to have a hands-on experience while learning about Muslim culture and the holiday itself.
“The dinner is a good platform to tell everyone and invite them to learn about our culture,” Aafaque said.
Shamly AnvarMackey, president of the Muslim Students Association, said when he was a first-year student, MSA didn’t exist. AnvarMackey finds it “amazing” that now, holidays such as Eid al-Adha are now being celebrated at USD, and more people are interested in learning about Muslim culture.
“Some people don’t even know what this culture is about, our religion is about,” AnvarMackey said. “I think it’s a good way for people who don’t really know much about what this festival is to come and find what it’s all about. It’s very nice to have more people and enjoy, especially us coming from different parts of the world. The more, the merrier.”
Aafaque said that since there has been a large turnout for the event both years, they will probably have to relocate to a larger venue. The maximum occupancy of the CDC is 45 people, but about 60 people showed up to the celebration.
Aafaque and AnvarMackey also led a presentation on what the Eid al-Adha celebration is, and shared how they celebrate Eid al-Adha within their own families based on their home countries — AnvarMackey is from Sri Lanka and Aafaque is from Pakistan.
Having holiday events that celebrate different cultures is what Anis appreciates the most about USD and the CDC.
“It reflects the diversity of USD that is already there,” Anis said. “It just brings the USD community together and recognizes the different ethnic groups that make the fabric of USD. The CDC were the visionaries of the idea, and really made us comfortable to bring all of these ideas forth.”
Aafaque said he was pleased with the dinner, and appreciated that many members of the USD community turned out to join in the celebration.
“It was really good,” Aafaque said. “We weren’t expecting this many students.”
The dinner was a way of bringing the Muslim community of USD together to have a good time.
“This day is dedicated for all of us to get together and build a nice community,” AnvarMackey said. “It’s just a homely feel.”