A Warm Cultural Welcome Into South and Southeast Asian Heritage

Indian Festival podcast <

I had my doubts about going at first because I didn’t know if it was an open event, but they welcomed me with warm hugs. My school’s South and Southeast Asian Heritage club decided to have an event to bring people together and show them their beautiful culture. On Friday, November 11th, I had the opportunity to experience this very festive event.

Walking into the plaza room, I could see how much time they had put into decorating. It was spectacular! By far the most aesthetically pleasing event I’ve experience on campus. They had candles on every table as well as golden rose pedals and red tablecloths. The main colors were red and gold. There was even a table dedicated solely to traditional Indian table decorations with fake candles to add light to the dimly lit room. Balloons and streamers were placed at the entrance as a way to tell people where the party was.

People really didn’t need any help finding the party though: the music could be heard from outside. In fact when I entered with friends, we had to adjust from a somewhat quiet environment to this intense, concert-like place. The DJ even had his own section with a turntable and a neon lights stand as well as a giant dance floor for everyone to rejoice in.

The dances were amazing. I’ve seen a couple of Bollywood films and always loved the dance scenes, but to see them in real life was incredible! Two of the club members were these beautifully dressed girls that invited everyone to dance with them. They were dressed head to toe in traditional clothing like Saris and Mekhela Sador. Actually, a lot of people were dressed that way; it was a very colorful plaza room to be in. From the decor to the clothes to the range in music, it was all very beautiful.

In fact the music would switch back and forth from classic Indian songs to Billboard’s top 100. It was very fun to dance along to Drake’s “One Dance” and then move along to “Nagada Sang Dhol”.

I think I should address the issue of cultural appropriation. In this beautifully event, there was none. Everyone was very welcoming and open to sharing their culture with others! There were people of other ethnicities that wore Saris and were taught some of the dances, but there was no ugly judgement. The most I saw were a few giggles when my friends and I tried to do a few dance moves, but it was nothing serious. I mean if I saw one of my white friends dance at a Hispanic wedding, I would giggle a little! But I wouldn’t make them feel bad about it. Instead, I would teach them more dance moves and welcome them to my culture. I think that’s why I loved this event so much: people were treating others like they would like to be treated.

Specially in a time like this, when many are being turned down for who they are, it is nice to see acceptance and kindness.

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