The Saudi Students Association gathered to celebrate Eid al-Adha, one of the major festivals for the Islamic community. This festival is also known as the Sacrifice Feast, as traditionally animals such as sheep and camels are sacrificed and the meat is donated to the poor.
“(We) hosted this event for everyone to show them our culture,” said Naif Alawaji, a senior graduate student majoring in clinical mental health counseling from Saudi Arabia and the president of the Saudi Students Association.
“Eid is about getting together and having fun, and that is what we want to do with the event tonight,” Alawaji said. “We play music, dance and just gather around and have fun during Eid.”
There were different varieties of food including lamb meat, which is one of the main foods prepared during Eid al-Adha.
Adel Alduayji, a biology major from Saudi Arabia, explained the festival and its importance. Eid is celebrated twice per year. The first one, Eid al-Fitr, is celebrated during the end of Ramadan, during which the Muslim people fast for one month.
Eid al-Adha is the second Eid and is celebrated in accordance with the Islamic calendar. During Eid, family members wake up early in the morning to greet each other.
During the event in Troy, everyone greeted each other by saying “As-salāmu ‘alaykum,” a common Arab greeting that means “peace be upon you.”
Aside from the food and the gathering, elders also give money to the younger family members as a part of Eid celebration.
“I’m hoping my dad sends me money soon,” joked Alduayji, who mentioned that he really missed his family during these kinds of festivals.
“During Eid, there are fireworks in every city,” Alduayji said. “It is like the Fourth of July in the states.
“We couldn’t do fireworks in the celebration here, and that is probably the biggest difference from the celebration back in Saudi.”
“Not everyone can afford good food, and during Eid, we try to spread the joy with music, get together and feast for everyone,” said Abdullah Alageel, a senior global business management major from Saudi Arabia. “It’s about bringing people together and spreading joy.”
As the event was open to the public, both domestic and international students from various places joined in. Among them was Anh Nguyen, a junior accounting major from Vietnam and the vice president of International Student Cultural Organization (ISCO).
“I like the gathering tonight even though it isn’t as big as I thought it would be because it’s more intimate and has brought the whole family together,” Nguyen said.
“It is a very good medium to interact with other people and get information about other cultures,” said Mona Keasara, a junior computer science major from India. “Events like these bring people close together and help spread love and joy with everyone.”