Bangladeshi Student Association Hosts Mock Gaye Holud Wedding Ceremony

Members of the performance./Triangle Solutions, Courtesy of Tunazzina Sakal

By Emmad Kashmiri


   In a celebration of its cultural heritage, the Bangladesh Student Association (BSA) at Brooklyn College hosted a mock Gaye Holud, a traditional Bangladeshi pre-wedding ceremony, on May 7. 

   Attendees were greeted with various types of music, dance, and colors typical of a real Gaye Holud. A core aspect of the festivities was the application of turmeric paste, a cherished ritual symbolizing new and successful beginnings, alongside the sharing of traditional sweets, wearing lots of vibrant colors, and performances of Bangladeshi wedding music and dance. The theme, according to organizers, was to ensure that all attendees, both Bangladeshi and non-Bangladeshi, felt a part of the celebration.

    “The theme centered around celebrating the vibrancy and joy of Bangladeshi wedding traditions. This theme allowed participants to experience the music, dance, and colors typical of a Gaye Holud,” said Tunazzina Sakal, president of BSA. “This specific focus aimed to provide an immersive cultural experience, promoting a deeper understanding and appreciation among attendees of a significant Bangladeshi celebration.”

   Additionally, the intention was to also create better understanding between different ethnic groups within the South Asian diaspora, who may know of the traditions but have not experienced them. This was done to be more inclusive and promote solidarity among the various Asian communities on campus. 

   “This year’s event builds on the success of previous years, but incorporates more interactive elements to engage attendees actively. Compared to past events, we’ve included more collaborative activities with other Asian cultural groups on campus to create a more inclusive and educational experience,” said Sakal. “By doing so, we not only celebrate our heritage but also encourage solidarity among different Asian communities. We aim to create a respectful celebration of our culture among all students.”

   Attendees from other Asian diaspora clubs on campus were there to both support the Bangladeshi community and to learn more about them, acknowledging the shared recognition of being in the South Asian diaspora. 

   “I decided to attend the event to learn about the culture of Bangladeshi weddings and their traditions,” said Saim Tahir, club connector of the Desi Culture Club. “I’ve heard a lot about Bangladeshi culture, so experiencing it firsthand like this [was] really nice.”   

   Building upon the success of previous years, this year’s event was built around a play, where attendees watched the equivalent of the bride and groom prepare for their wedding. In this play, written by Faria Prova, Fariha Eva, and Disha Prangon, the bride is dating her boyfriend in secret, but one day her sister tells her that she is going to get an arranged marriage by her dad. Watchers of the play then get to see how the bride manages to fix the situation she gets into

   The decision by the BSA to host the event during Asian Heritage Month provided a unique opportunity to spotlight and educate about the diverse cultures within the umbrella of the Asian diaspora, allowing for greater visibility of the diverse Asian identities within BC. 

   “Hosting the event during Asian Heritage Month provides a timely opportunity to celebrate and educate about Asian cultures when campus-wide and national attention is already focused on these themes,” said Naheen Khan, vice president of BSA. “It allows for greater visibility and appreciation of the diverse Asian identities.”

   BSA hopes to continue to break barriers between those in the community and those outside of it, forming bonds in a shared appreciation of the culture.

  “We love when people join us, regardless of where you are from. We just love people,” Sakal said. “We’re also trying to break that barrier of people thinking that the BSA is just for Bengali students. It’s open for everyone.”