On Feb. 10, students and parents filled the cafeteria to celebrate Masuk’s very first South Asian Night. Attendees enjoyed food, music and dancing in commemoration of South Asian heritage here in Monroe.
In search of the opportunity to exhibit their customs, student organizers coordinated an event that would accomplish just that. Representing a multitude of countries from India to Nepal to Bhutan, students covered the cafeteria in South Asian decorations. Walls and tables were decked with saris, flower garlands and lanterns in a vibrant and beautiful display. Students themselves donned cultural clothing such as saris, kurtas, ghagra cholis and more, with plenty to share with those that didn’t have their own.
Dinner, catered by Stamford restaurant Dhabewala, was a delicious assortment of South Asian cuisine. The menu consisted of staples such as chicken tikka masala, samosas, punjabi chole and more, paired with rice and naan.
The dishes were a hit; “The food [was] amazing, honestly my favorite part of the whole night was probably the naan,” said Masuk junior, Sofia Goncalves.
Throughout the evening, South Asian music filled the cafeteria as numerous students participated in various cultural dances. Led by instructor Yashasvi Jhangiani, students that grew up with these songs and dances, or those that had never before seen South Asian dancing, could partake in the lively tradition along with their peers.
“I’m very excited to be included in another culture and to see all of the varieties of traditions and people,” stated senior Joshua Ofori-Akansah. Sharing food, music, art and clothing, all key aspects of culture, students had a chance to gain an appreciation for new customs.
“I think it’s a step for Masuk to have this type of event and introduce more cultures like with Latin Night …I think it’s really good for the school and students,” Goncalves agreed.
Monroe is an ever-diversifying place, with students at Masuk hailing from a wide variety of backgrounds. Many students believe in the importance of preserving and sharing these unique cultures, and school events like South Asian Night serve as a perfect chance to do so.
“We were definitely inspired by Latin Night and how they celebrated their culture, and I just thought it would be a really great opportunity for us to celebrate and share our own,” said junior Safa Memon. This event, while incredibly gratifying, was no small feat to organize. Volunteer students and adults worked for weeks to ensure that South Asian night was a success.
“South Asian students handled a lot of the planning, and other students helped set up. Then some adults like Madame Leszczynska, Mr. Lowell, Mr. Humpal and Mrs. Young ran the whole thing. And a lot of parents donated food and time.” added junior Harini Gosukonda. “We couldn’t have done it without all of the help from students, teachers and parents…It’s just really nice to have an opportunity to share our heritage with other people.” South Asian night was certainly a success, and events such as this have proven to be a fantastic way to celebrate and embrace the diversity of cultures in our town.