Just as the sun was starting to set Saturday, students, faculty and community members came to celebrate the seventh annual Sri Lanka night. Sri Lanka, an island that is often referred to as the “Teardrop of India” is located off the southern coast of India in South Asia.
Radhiha Ahamadeen, a native student from Sri Lanka said, “The event was wonderful; it was great. They depicted our culture really well. Even the history, they produced it really well. I did not expect them to do a performance of the history. I grew up studying all this stuff; you have to learn when the rock was built and everything. I loved it.”
Yaatra, a journey through the pearl of Asia was the theme this year and took audience members through the various cities in Sri Lanka via acting, traditional dances and singing. Towards the end, audience members’ name were drawn out of a hat and winners were presented with a prize.
Sekinat Kalejaiye, a student from a Nigerian background said, “I think the event was great. I like the fact that they used visual aids to show the different perspective of the cities of Sri Lanka.”
Coming from a Nigerian culture, Kalejaiye said, “I could see some differences because our cultures are different. However, one of the dressings was actually a bit similar to my culture.”
Not only are the people of Sri Lanka trying to make the community aware but they are working on bettering others as well.
According to Shajive Jegnathan, marketing coordinator of Sri Lanka student organization, “This year, the president and the committee board have been working with an organization in [Washington] DC called Educate Lanka Foundation to help students that are in need.”
Even if you did not win a prize, people were not sent home empty handed. To end the night, audience members were able to take a bite out of the culture.
The foods varied from sweet to salty, mild to very spicy.
“There’s a variety of foods, it goes from spicy to sweet, so we have all sorts of spicy. We go from extra spicy to mild spicy for those that can’t handle the spice. But this year our special, which is like our traditional cuisine, was deep fried eggplant. It’s my favorite. It just tastes so much better than anything” said Dakshina Jayakody, president of the Sri Lankan student organization.
But these were not the only foods offered. They had Sri Lankan chicken curry, lentil bean curry, deep fried potatoes, padam deep fried salted chips and various other foods.
To top it off, audiences were able to sink their teeth into the main dessert of the night, Wattalappam, which is made out of eggs, coconut milk and brown sugar.
Ahamdeen said for those that do not know much about Sri Lanka, the best way to learn about a culture is to visit the country or even coming to cultural events and talking to the people that reside from the country.