Solar New Year celebrates South Asian representation for AAPI month

Kastenny Flores, Reporter

In Kingsmen Park, Desi Club hosted a Solar New Year celebration with food, arts & crafts, a board of Snake Ladder and had a henna artist in attendance to honor Asian American & Pacific Islander Month at California Lutheran University. 

Flyers around the event explained the date for the Solar New Year, which typically falls around April 14, is marked by the sun’s entry into the House of Aries from the House of Pisces. Fairooz Rafia, president of Desi Club, said Solar New Year celebrates the beginning of the new Solar calendar, typically celebrated by Hindu cultures and often has diverse dates.

Ishaan Mishra, an officer of the Desi club, said Solar New Year can be celebrated slightly differently depending on the country celebrating the holiday.

Rafia said this holiday is significant for Bangladesh, parts of India, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Mishra said, traditionally, children and adults receive presents, money or other gifts to celebrate the day, but new clothing in lucky colors, cleaning and setting the table with traditional foods are different forms of celebration.

Rafia said food and sweets are shared to help move on from past mistakes or problems one may face, and she said people bond over new beginnings.

“They try to reconcile with their old friends and meet up, so it’s a festive event for sure. Its people celebrated throughout the day, the festivities running through the day and until the night,” Rafia said.

Food at the April 13 event included Indian appetizers, such as Samosas and Pakora, sweets, like Gulab Jamun and Jalebi, and Mango Lassi for drinks. 

Mishra said the holiday is called a lot of different things in different traditions and languages, and they decided they would try their best to represent all the cultures in one event.

Rafia said South Asia is often forgotten when discussing Asian countries so the club believed it would be great to introduce this event to the student body.

Sophomore Simrat Kang, a member of the club and attendee of the event, said spreading awareness and representation of South Asian culture is essential to Desi Club.

“I like how Cal Lutheran is, you know, having a Desi club and that we’re able to represent our culture. I have never really seen anything like this. So I think this is just fascinating how my culture is being represented, and we’re on board with other cultures to be recognized,” Kang said.

Mishra said Desi Club has a lot of plans and is hoping to have bigger events for next semester, one being an event for Diwali.