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Mela will celebrate South Asian culture, Oct. 13

Mela, a festival celebrating South Asian culture and cuisine, will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at Scudder Plaza outside Robertson Hall. The event, sponsored by the South Asian Students Association, is intended to promote cultural diversity and bring the distinctive features of South Asia to the University and community.

Mela, a Hindi word for festival, will include food from a variety of regions of South Asia, live music, dance performances, henna artists and a fashion show. There will be a number of family-friendly activities aimed at educating the community about the South Asian countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

"Our goal is to make it feel just like the street fairs of South Asia," said senior Nikhil Bumb, president of the South Asian Students Association. "This is our first year organizing the festival, and we hope it will become an annual event on campus."

The event will include performances from the student dance groups Naacho, Princeton Bhangra and Kalaa, as well as South Asian musical and dance groups from the greater Princeton area. Food and clothing from local businesses also will be sold at the event.

"The festival will not only be a celebration of South Asian culture, but also an exhibition of the wonderful fusion of cultures that shape Princeton," said senior Anand Yegya-Raman, one of the student organizers. "We hope that both South Asians and non-South Asians alike will come away with a better understanding of the culture as well as an appreciation for the ethnic diversity in our community."

Mela also is sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students, the Department of Art and Archaeology, the Department of Music, the Program in South Asian Studies, the University Center for the Creative and Performing Arts and the Undergraduate Student Government Projects Board.

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