Though the weather outside was chilly, the South Asian Expo on Saturday brought some much-needed warmth and support for a variety of South Asian cultures.
The event took place under the national flags in the Hirst Lounge, stressing diversity in the UR community. The expo featured live performances, food, and informational booths.
“Everyone passing by could stop and check the expo out,” first-year An Nguyen said.
As an annual event sponsored by the Association for the Department of Interest in the Indian Subcontinent (ADITI), the expo came back for the second time with both traditions and renovations.
The rows of booths each had a unique decoration, an informational presentation board, and an interactive activity. Each station introduced the geography, customs, festivals, clothing, language, and religion of a South Asian country.
Some examples of different booths included Pakistani calligraphy, Indian rangoli, Bangladeshi face and hand painting, and Nepali kite making.
“I think the way they designed the event was very well thought out, especially how you needed four tickets from participating [in] an activity [at] each booth to get the samosa,” Nguyen said.
Representatives for each station dressed in traditional clothes brought from their home countries. They enthusiastically shared the culture of the country they represented.
According to sophomore Ananya Chauhan, an e-board member of ADITI, the expo this year elaborated on the interactive activities for each station by making them “unique to each country.”
Moreover, the activities were also chosen to demonstrate the cultural ties and variances among South Asian countries.
Additionally, ADITI’s Cultural Inclusiveness Committee did a great deal of research to prepare the photos and country overview descriptions at each booth. The committee did so in order to “make the expo more inclusive and represent each country fairly,” speaker of ADITI and junior Tamanna Bhatia said.
While performers sang and danced, some audience members also got into the rhythm and melody of the music. Many attendees applauded and cheered at the end of each performance to show their support and respect.
The expo also featured a surprise.
Sophomore Akshay Sharathchandra and senior Amie Patel sang together.
“We kept it a secret this whole time, so [Patel’s] friends were so surprised when she started singing,” Sharathchandra said. “I loved the reaction from the audience.”
While Patel was nervous, she said everyone was “so encouraging and sweet.”
For some attendees, the expo was a chance to learn about unfamiliar cultures.
“I didn’t know a lot about South Asia before, but now I got to know a lot about all the different countries, […] I got to experience their culture a bit by eating their food and watching their performances,” first-year Lea Thome said.
But for the hosts, the expo meant a chance to share their own cultures and welcome other cultures. With this event, ADITI hopes to foster intercultural communication and a more inclusive cultural community on campus.
First-Year Sing Chan contributed reporting.