The Villanova Muslim Student Association held its first major event of the semester, an awareness and celebratory event of the Muslim holiday Eid, Tuesday, Nov. 11. Eid is celebrated twice a year. These holidays are in accordance with the lunar calendar, which is why there is not a set Gregorian date for when they occur. Eid is always celebrated at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, and the second Eid celebration follows about two months and 10 days later. Both of these holidays are as significant for Muslims as Christmas is for Christians. During these holidays, Muslims rejoice with friends, family and loved ones, as they feast and celebrate their traditions.
This year, the second Eid was celebrated during the first week of October. Although event planning took a bit of a hit because of Fall break and other complications, the MSA members persisted in planning this Eid event to express a sense of diversity, awareness and tolerance around Villanova. The turnout for the event was better than expected; although the ‘Nova MSA is a small group, many students have expressed an interest in gaining insights regarding the Muslim faith and Islamic traditions.
While some students know what Eid is, many don’t. The purpose of having this belated celebration was not only to allow the Muslims around campus to come celebrate their religious traditions, but also to educate others around campus who are curious and willing to learn about the diversity that surrounds them.
The festivities began with a short presentation on the history of Eid and the religious background associated with the holidays.
Further, the presentation addressed some of the similarities and differences between the monotheistic faiths, specifically Islam and Catholicism, thus discerning to the student body just how many similarities are shared between the two faiths.
The presentation was followed by an open Q & A during which students could freely voice heir opinions and ask questions regarding the holiday, Islam or any other general inquisitions.
Following this dialogue, students helped themselves to some delicious chicken kabobs and vegetarian samosas, in an effort to lean into the discomfort that comes with understanding and accepting people of different backgrounds.
Senior Melissa Eckles said of the event, “It really opened my eyes to the Muslim religion. They were really open with sharing their faith with me and I learned a lot. And the food was delicious as well. I ate it all, especially the samosas. The samosas were my favorite.”
As the night came to an end, students headed outside to continue the festive celebration, lighting fireworks and enjoying great company around the Oreo. All in all, the event was a great success and has really sparked an interesting dialogue regarding cultural and religious diversity around campus.
While the ’Nova MSA also hopes to establish a core faith-oriented circle for Muslims around campus, it also openly invites people of other faiths and traditions to ask questions and commence a dialogue that will help educate everyone about the questions we all have.