This past Saturday the Centennial Student Union Ballroom at Minnesota State University Mankato hosted Indo-Bangla Night, a celebration of Indian and Bangladeshi culture. The event was hosted by the India and Bangladesh student organizations on campus after a planning period of many months.
Admission was $10, and the event was open to community members, MSU alumni, and MSU students. The night featured buffet-style food, trivia, and various performances by members of the two student organizations.
Shreyam Ranjan is the vice president of the Indian Student Association and participated in dances throughout the night. “We wanted to do a collab. Both cultures are very similar,” Ranjan said.
Saturday night’s event also coincided with the Independence Day of Bangladesh, which marks Bangladesh’s declaration of independence from Pakistan in 1971.
Abeer, a student at MSU, participated in the fashion show with her brothers during the event. “The semester has been creating too much pressure on students, and this event gave everyone time to relax and have peace of mind. It brought the two cultures together, but people of other cultures are also present,” Abeer said.
The event took place in the CSU Ballroom, but the lobby outside was decorated with brightly colored streamers and other decorations as well. The ballroom itself was alight with vibrant projections and colored overhead lights, along with a selfie spot for attendees. Anyone who set foot inside this area of the CSU between 5 and 8 p.m. was met with the aroma of food being served upstairs, such as the potato-filled samosas.
Crowd participation was high for each performance of the night. Nearly every seat was filled at multiple points of the event, with many people standing during dance features. Attendees often danced along with the students on stage as students invited the crowd on stage during well-known songs. Some even performed live music which some audience members sang along to while cheering on the musicians.
“We sang traditional Bangla songs, picked at random,” said a first-semester student that’s a member of the Bangladesh student organization and performed live music with a small group. “Everyone had so much fun, and that was the most exciting part.”
Throughout the night, lead student organizers held trivia between performances about Indian and Bangladeshi culture, with questions about geography, food and sports. One question asked about the most commonly served fish, the Hilsa, otherwise known as the Ilish. Participants who were chosen for a question and answered correctly were given a gift bag with various prizes.
“After COVID, they were able to program this event. I liked the fashion show because everybody has different clothes which represent their state or country,” said an MSU student in attendance.
Header Photo: Students a part of the India and Bangladesh student organizations on campus shared their traditional dances while celebrating their culture. (Emily Lansman/The Reporter)
Write to Alexandra Tostrud at Alexandra.Tostrud@mnsu.edu