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Centennial CVI celebrates Eid and South Asian New Year

April 16, 2024

Guelph, ON — On April 12, 2024, Centennial Collegiate Vocational Institute (CCVI) hosted a grand, school-wide Eid and South Asian New Year celebration.

The lunchtime event included free food and drinks, a mehndi (henna tattoo) table, a “Turban Up” table, a “Hijab Try On” table and a “Saree Station” table.

Eid was celebrated by Muslims on Wed. April 10, after the month of Ramadan which is dedicated to fasting and prayer.  CCVI’s Muslim Student Association (MSA) held a large Iftar dinner during Ramadan where they welcomed students from Centennial and neighbouring school Guelph CVI.  Together, they broke their fast and enjoyed a potluck meal.  The MSA followed up that event with Eid celebrations for the greater school community last Friday.

A variety of South Asian festivals started on April 9, marking the beginning of the South Asian lunisolar New Year, including Navratri, Gudi Padwa, Ugadi, Vishu, Navreh, Pohela Boishakh, Rongali Bihu and Cheti Chand. 

Additionally, April 13 and 14 is celebrated as Vaisakhi by the Sikh community, Puthandu by the Sri Lankan Tamil community and Aluth Avurudda by the Sri Lankan Sinhalese community.  To include all of these festivals, Centennial’s Desi Club dubbed this celebration “Desi New Year.” 

The term “Desi” is a general term that encompasses all countries in the South Asian subcontinent including India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan & Bhutan.  Centennial’s Desi Club welcomes any and all students who are a part of or are interested in South Asian Culture.

The Eid and Desi New Year celebrations were packed with students over lunch who were all treated to free traditional snacks including samosas, spring rolls, pakoras, vadas, sooji halwa, gulab jamun, cookies, baklava and dates.  As well, free soft drinks, juice and masala chai were available. 

All items were free thanks to the generosity of the event sponsors – the Guelph Sikh Society and local restaurants Bollywood Bistro, Tandoori Shawarma & Pizza and Lepakshi South Indian Cuisine.  The students raved about the food, enjoying the different flavours.

In addition to the delicious food, students were able to experience different cultural traditions such as getting a mehndi (henna tattoo) design, trying on an Indian or Sri Lankan Saree, trying on a Muslim Hijab and/or trying on a Sikh Turban.  These experiences were possible through community elders from the Guelph Sikh Society, Muslim Society of Guelph and the Indian community. 

It was a lovely sight to see students lining up to try these activities and conversing with elders from these communities as they shared their traditions with the students and proudly took photos with them in front of the professional backdrop that was sponsored by Three D Party Decor.

Desi Club teacher supervisor, Shailja Pandey, and MSA Teacher supervisor, Andy Wyche, were delighted to see the front foyer packed with students of all backgrounds who shared in these experiences.  It was especially lovely to see students from the Muslim and Desi communities show up to school dressed up in their cultural clothing, proud to represent their traditions. 

Pandey summarized the event saying, “Today was a perfect showcase of unity through diversity and mutual respect.  The positive energy during our event was contagious and everyone left with a smile on their face after enjoying treats plus memorable experiences and photos with community elders.”


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