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HomeAmericaUSAGeorge Washington University observes South Asian Heritage month

George Washington University observes South Asian Heritage month

USA

Students at George Washington University (GWU) are gearing up to celebrate South Asian Heritage Celebration (SAHC) throughout the month of March, with a vibrant array of cultural events and activities planned under the theme ‘Once Upon a Time: Weaving the Threads of Tradition, Diversity, and Resilience through the Art of Storytelling.’

Kicking off the festivities, a mock shaadi (South Asian wedding celebration) was staged, bringing to life the cultural richness and traditions of South Asia. The event featured all the quintessential elements of a traditional shaadi, including sumptuous food, melodious music, and captivating dance performances. Volunteers, adorned in elaborate attire, portrayed the bride and groom, adding an authentic touch to the festivities.

Mock shaadi events have become a popular tradition across colleges in the United States, providing a platform for South Asian students to celebrate their heritage and foster a sense of community. In 2023, prestigious institutions such as Columbia University, University of Texas at Austin, Stanford University, and the University of Toronto Scarborough hosted similar events, drawing large crowds of enthusiastic participants. Stanford University, in particular, boasted four pretend couples as part of its elaborate celebration.

At GWU, the mock shaadi served as a tribute to the timeless love story of Heer Ranjha, a legendary tale of romance cherished by generations. The event encapsulated the spirit of storytelling, aligning perfectly with the overarching theme of the South Asian Heritage Celebration month.

Reflecting on the significance of SAHC, Aditi Venkateswaran, co-chair of GW Indian Students Association (ISA), emphasized the importance of celebrating cultural heritage as a means of fostering understanding and appreciation. “Celebrating the South Asian Heritage Month helps students from the diaspora to learn more about their culture and appreciate it,” she remarked. Venkateswaran also underscored the inclusive nature of the celebrations, highlighting the opportunity for students to come together and embrace their diverse backgrounds.

Collaborating closely with Venkateswaran, Nafia Lalani of GW South Asian Society and Saher Mir of GW’s Pakistani Students Organization co-chaired SAHC 2024, ensuring a comprehensive lineup of events to engage students throughout the month.

The SAHC calendar at GWU is brimming with exciting activities, including the ISA Stranger Project (storytelling) at the GW Museum, a culinary extravaganza, a comedy show, and an iftar event. Additionally, Holi celebrations, a campfire gathering, a bhangra night, and a poetry event are slated to continue until April 13, promising a diverse and enriching cultural experience for all participants.

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