Two hundred students gathered on the South Mall on Thursday night to celebrate Sikhism by doing Bhangra, a traditional dance that originated in West India.
The UT Sikh Students Association organized the event to spread awareness of the religion on campus.
Students enjoyed snacks from Clay Pit restaurant and danced to upbeat traditional Punjabi music by DJ Paras.
Human development and family science junior Hardev Singh, co-president of the Sikh Students Association, said the group has confined itself to activities only within the Sikh community for the past few years but now hopes to do more outreach programs on campus.
“This year, we decided to reach out to the UT community and show them who we are and what we do, and spread our culture and way of life,” Singh said in an e-mail.
She said Bhangra Night was organized to bring the Punjabi community at UT together because the dance is an important part of the northern Indian region’s culture.
“It is a vibrant dance that personifies the strength and character of the Sikh [psyche],” Singh said. “It showcases an important cultural and fun aspect of the Sikh community.”
French and finance senior Sudip Singh said the event was important to clarify any misconceptions about Sikh culture.
“It is important, post 9/11, that we make the Sikh identity known and separate from other identities,” he said, referring to differences in religious groups from Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa who wear turbans.
Economics sophomore Pearl Agarwal, who is a Hindu, said she joined the association to gain a deeper understanding of Sikhism.
“I attended the event tonight because I feel it is important to learn about the Sikh community,” she said. “One of my best friends is Sikh and through the SSA, I have had the opportunity to learn more about his culture and religion.”
The organization meets every Thursday to show films or organize games relating to Sikhism and organized Tie-a-Turban Day in October, which 400 people attended.