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Annual Diwali - Eid Dinner

Rupal Shah

On Saturday, October 14, 2017, the South Asia Center hosted its annual Diwali Eid Dinner at Saint Peter's Episcopal Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This community dinner is organized by individuals who reside in Boston, Cambridge, and the nearby suburban towns. It brings people together to celebrate two festivals celebrated by a large South Asian population. Diwali, known as the festival of lights is largely celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs all over the world. Similarly, Eid marks an important occasion for Muslims all over the world. At the dinner, two community members spoke on the significance of Diwali and Eid and how they celebrated the festivals in their hometowns.

The most important part of the event is the food. South Asian festivals revolve around food and this event was no different! Tables were covered with appetizers. The community participates by cooking and bringing their favorite dishes to share. An assorted variety of bread along with delicious rice, vegetable, and meat dishes were eaten by many. Individuals also cooked numerous meat delicacies that were enjoyed by all. And of course, no event is complete without a wide selection of desserts, fondly known by many as mitthai. The mitthai consisted of sweets rich in ghee, sugar, and milk with authentic spices like cardamom! 

To end the evening, several local artists entertained everyone with songs, music, dance, and poetry. Music consisted of classical music as well as folk music with a variety of instruments. Local singers sang songs to mark the occasion of Diwali and Eid and to emphasize the strength of hosting inter-faith community events. Dancers danced to classical songs to mark the occasion.

Every year the community looks forward to this event as it has been taking place for more than twenty years. The fact that two festivals celebrated by people of different faiths are celebrated together, not in a temple or a mosque, but in a church sends a message of unity throughout the community. In many ways, this is a truly an all-encompassing event marked by food, fun, and friends! 

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