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The Daily Wildcat

 

Saudi National Day offers chance for students to share culture

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Jazmine Foster-Hall
Jazmine Foster-Hall/The Daily Wildcat

UA students had the opportunity to experience Saudi Arabian culture on the UA Mall Thursday afternoon.

Sept. 23 marked the 83rd annual Saudi National Day, which honors the unification of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Students Club set up an event to celebrate this holiday.

Men and women wore traditional Saudi clothing, thobes for the men and abayas for the women, cloak-like garments that cover the entire body.

A tent was decorated with examples of these garments for students to admire, as well a few Saudi Arabian flags. The Saudi flag is green with a white sword, and white text above the sword in Arabic that is a saying of Islam, the religion in Saudi Arabia.

Students working the event offered samples of dates, tea and Arabian coffee to students passing by. They also offered to write people’s names in Arabic.

Though not a member of SSC, Neda Alshieani, an English sophomore, said she enjoyed the event.

“It’s exciting,” she said. “It’s tradition.”

The most popular table at the event was the henna table which allowed students to receive intricate henna tattoos for free.

There were also sandwich board signs set up around the tent to inform the campus about important aspects of Saudi Arabian culture. Some of the signs described Mecca, a religious city near the western coast, and Abdul Aziz bin Saud, the first king of Saudi Arabia.

Murad Attieh, a chemical engineering freshman, was one of many students helping out at the event, and said he is enjoying his experience at the UA.

“Tucson is like Saudi Arabia,” Attieh said. “The desert.”

While the free samples and clothing were part of the fun, the main focus of the event was to educate the UA community about Saudi Arabia. At each table they handed out pamphlets and magazines about different aspects of Saudi Arabian culture.

“We answer any questions or wonderings about anything related to Saudi Arabia,” said Meshael Alahmadi, a graduate student studying international trade business law and the fines president for SSC.

Although the intent of the event was serious, it was still light-hearted and entertaining.

“We appreciate the UA giving us the chance to present our national day here,” Alahmadi said.

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