Saudi Cultural Night celebrates Saudi Arabia and its rich culture

Muhammad Ahsan
Contributing Writer

The scent of royalty in the air, a combination of some fine cuisine, beautiful white dresses and smiling faces. Arabs know how to create a scene. The local Saudi community organized their cultural night and amazed everyone, proving that they are second to none Friday, April 26. 

Every country has its unique cultural which is beautiful in its own way. Saudi Arabia has a rich culture which is shaped by its Islamic heritage and historical role as a trade center. Being at the center of important trade routes, the Arabian people were enriched by many different civilizations’ cultures.

Saudi Student Association is one of the largest international student community at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Every year, SSA represents its culture in a unique way. This time SSA organized Saudi Cultural Night to give this semester a happy ending.

The CSU Ballroom was adorned with beautiful soft lights. Saudi cultural dresses and some fascinating scents were presented on stalls. The event began with a mesmerizing recitation of the Holy Quran. After that, a young man and a beautiful lady took over the stage to continue the event. Some of the guests were called on stage with honor to talk about Saudi culture and share their experiences about Saudi Arabia and Islam. The hosts introduced Anne Dahlman, Dean of the Global Education program at the University. Dahlman then went on to share her knowledge about Saudi culture.

After that, some historical information about Saudi Arabia was shown to the audience, focusing on the future agendas of the government and paying tribute to their kings. There was a free iPhone to win for the audience for answering questions about Saudi Arabia. A young boy answered all the tricky questions and won the iPhone.

The next segment became a favorite of all when some Saudi students came on the stage in their beautiful dresses with swords in their hands, swinging them in the air and creating a rhythmic scene.

Finally, it was the moment everyone was waiting for. The host announced that the food was ready to be served. Everything was delicious, but the chicken and rice added delight to every plate.

The event continued after the food. A couple of dance performances were presented again. Finally, the national anthem of Saudi Arabia was played and everyone was requested to stand in honor. It gave a momentary end to the night.

Header photo by Mansoor Ahmad | MSU Reporter.

2 thoughts on “Saudi Cultural Night celebrates Saudi Arabia and its rich culture

  • Daniel Sebold

    I lived in Saudi Arabia for four years in cities like Jubail, Jeddah, and also Jazan down on the Yemen border. I am a fluent speaker of Arabic from my Arabic studies at DLI in the US Navy decades ago and have travelled all the Middle Eastern countries including Syria, Yemen, Jordan, Iraq–all of them.

    Five years ago I was teaching in the city of Jazan and staying in a hotel near the airport where Scud missiles from Houthi attacks from Yemen sometimes exploded above the runway. Jazan Province has many Saudi/Yemen folk who, indeed, are quite hospitable, though there is a fatalism to the culture sometimes manifested in young Saudi males feeling the need to do stock car racing on public highways, endangering the lives of everyone on the road (check out “Saudi drifting” on You Tube.) I found myself on two occasion standing by the road a kilometer from my school watching one of my students bleed to death in his crushed car, then went to his village the next day to meet his elders for the funeral.

    I found the rural Saudi Yemen folk of Jazan Province as well as the rural Shiite folk of al Najran with its fantastic tower houses along the Yemen border to be the most amiable of the Saudis, whereas the rich Sunnis in the cities possess a smug materialistic kind of arrogance found among rich people everywhere on the planet Many of my students were impoverished Shiite and, in fact, they turned out to be my finest students.

    If you go to Saudi Arabia be sure to check out the National Museum in Riyadh with its wonderful collection of pre-Islamic artefacts and check out such pre Islamic sites as the Nabatean site, Maidan Salah–Jesus spoke the Aramaic language from this culture. But be ready for an urban culture shock nightmare of drive-in only shopping malls–nothing is designed for pedestrians and you often must navigate around huge concrete road blocks a half a block away from your intersection to cross the street. You are very much a target as a pedestrian in KSA. And there are gender segregated Mc Donald’s which really consummate the joy of living there

    Finally, the US Government’s current support of the Saudi genocide of the Yemen people should be condemned by any American diversity institution harboring Saudi students, but I wouldn’t hold my breath with Minnesota State Mankato (I doubt they know about it, so please forgive your diversity professors their ignorance). Yemen was by far the most colorful country I visited with women wearing rainbow colored burkas and the men donning decorative Kanjar knives around their waists–something you can also see in Jazan. The mud skyscraper city of Shabom in Yemen is something you need to at least Google

    Daniel Sebold
    MSU English/Spanish alumnus
    91 Gulf War veteran

  • Daniel Sebold

    We should not only celebrate our cultural diversity with Saudi Arabia, but so, too, our cultural similarities and histories as cultures with similar Abrahamic religious traditions. When I returned from the 1991 Gulf War to Minnesota State University I had the pleasure of experiencing Mankato’s right wing Christian homophobic wrath at the time, relentlessly gay bashed as a War Veteran with straight A’s in Spanish. Back then many Christian churches in Mankato did not allow gay children in their congregations. (Perhaps there are still a few.)

    The Dean of Student Affairs at this vaunted institution of cultural diversity even back then told me that, “Unfortunately, the Mankato community is not tolerant of people perceived as gay.” Well, that left me rather suicidally depressed having already endured the go-nowhere witch hunts and fabrications of the NIS while still in the Navy. It was later discovered that the Dean Of Student Affairs didn’t have the necessary Masters Degree to do his job competently and had to be demoted Director. (Lying about your credentials is forgivable in Mankato)

    Ironically, despite my later having witnessed the decapitations of two homosexuals at the Ballad Mosque in Jeddah back in 2005–Saudi Muslims require much more rigorous proof under Sharia Law of homosexuality than do Mankato Christians: three male witnesses to the act. This seems to be also the case in accusing football coaches of having child porn on their cell phones. The local Free Press newspaper had a wonderful time attacking this innocent man which left his desperate wife pleading in the Reporter for mercy from the Mankato community. None was offered and the university president who fired the man with no proof is still university president despite the State having to order the university to rehire the man.

    No one would have batted an eye if Saudi Arabia’s national soccer coach had videos of his children playing in his bathtub or dancing naked in his living room on his cell phones. The Saudi family is sacred turf. So, yes, I did feel freer of false accusations in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia than I did in Mankato, Minnesota under Saudi Sharia.

    Frankly, we could stand to have Saudi’s strict Sharia banking laws in the USA to clean up the corrupt banking system in the USA. Perhaps a decapitation or two would save our economy.

    At any rate, my experiences in Mankato back in the nineties caused me to leave the USA for good. I write to you from the very loving and tolerant community of Seam Reap, Cambodia where I am happily married to a local Khmer woman. Celebrate diversity, Mankato.


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