By Bryn Fawn
April marks several holidays for many cultures. Easter for Christian students, Passover for Jewish students and Ramadan for Muslim students will all be celebrated this month at SUNY Plattsburgh. April also signals the end of the school year as the semester comes to a close.
This year, Desi and Muslim Student Association have worked hard to ensure Muslim students feel involved. Desi Prom was held April 2, Iftar Dinner was held March 31 and there were decorations put up on campus as was covered by Cardinal Points previously.
Easter largely dominates United States’s culture. Stores in Plattsburgh are filled with Easter baskets, chocolate bunnies and egg dying kits. There is little focus on Ramadan or Passover as these holidays, while important to their celebrants, are not nearly as marketable. This is due to the fact that there are less individuals who celebrate.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and this year it is from sundown March 22 to April 20. Participants are to fast from dawn to sunset while also abstaining from smoking and sex. Musliks have an early breakfast before dawn and then break their fast in the evening, however, only those who can safely fast are expected to do so.
Passover is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the Israelites’ escape from Egyptian slavery with the leadership of Moses. It is one of the more major Jewish holidays, and holds more importance than that of Hanukkah. Passover this year begins sundown April 5 and continues until April 13.
Judaism is similar Christianity in that there are different “flavors” or denominations and so different Jews celebrate Passover differently. There is a dinner, called Seder, that has several traditions during the night.
Experiencing and understanding other cultures and religions helps build a well-rounded understanding of the world. It helps create new ideas
However, the campus still struggles to embrace diversity. For students unable to attend a temple for Seder, no traditional Jewish foods were provided. Sunset is growing later in the day, and so Muslim students may only be able to get food at SunDowner during Ramadan. There are also no special events or cuisines provided for Ramadan specifically held by campus. Events such as Desi Prom, Holi Celebration or International DJ Night were held by clubs run by students.
Students are what make SUNY Plattsburgh the campus that it is. The diversity, wealth of different ideas and experiences and the bright minds. Campus still stumbles in forgetting or even disregarding the less white and Christian cultures. Desi has proved, however, that there is an interest and students are willing to take matters into their own hands.