Festival of Cultures celebrates South Asian art


SVSU’s South Asian Student Association (SASA) hosted its sixth annual Festival of Cultures celebration on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall.

Salman Shawkat Shawon, SASA’s president and a professional accountancy junior, said the event celebrates different cultures from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Myanmar.

“Usually, we will have South Asian music, authentic dances, short dramas and end with a D.J.,” he said. “Since South Asian Student Association was established, we have been

trying our best to showcase and propagate our culture at SVSU, and the Festival of Cultures is one of the primary events we hold to let everyone on campus know more about South Asia and South Asian Culture.”

Planning the event around finals gives students a break from their busy and stressed lives, Shawon said.

“Having such a fun and cheerful event can release and relieve (students’) pressure, as well as anxiety,” he said.

While Shawon enjoyed planning the event, he said it was difficult to coordinate with all the performers.

“The hardest part of coordinating the event was to reach out to everyone in a short period of time and to manage all the performers,” he said. “All of them are students, and they have to prepare for nals, and some are also preparing for graduation.”

Freshman Dania Ali from Pakistan and senior Evanstien Koshy from Kuwait served as the event’s hosts.

For most performances, students dressed in their traditional cultural garments, such as the sari, a traditional female wrap garment. A variety of music, both from live performers and from recordings for dancers, showed off a display of South Asian cultural favorites.

The performances kicked off with a singer, followed by several dance routines. Some performances included songs in Hindu and Nepali. Later, a group of students from Nepal sang and played guitar and harmonica to a mash-up of popular Nepali songs. One soloist sang “Girls Like You” by Maroon 5 and “I Like Me Better” by Lauv. Several more student acts followed as well.

According to Shawon, participants included members of SASA, International Students Club, Student Life, Student Association and more.

Carlos Deleon, a history education major, enjoyed the wide variety of acts.

“I thought that the event was a great way to celebrate the diversity here at SVSU,” Deleon said. “I enjoyed listening to the songs in different languages, and all the dancers were amazing. You could tell that all the performers put a lot of time and energy into what they were doing.”