Activities & Organizations News

Inaugural CougarEidFest to host local vendors, celebrate community

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

A joint effort by the University of Houston Muslim Student Association and the Arab Student Association, the inaugural CougarEidFest will be held on April 25 at Lynn Eusan Park.

Through local food and retail vendors, organizers are looking forward to uniting the UH community and allowing non-Muslim students to experience their culture.

“You can get a little taste of Muslim culture,” said ASA Operations and public health sophomore Nour Khattab.

The event is free to enter, but all vendors will charge for their products. Money raised will be donated to the Muslim Coogs Alumni Network, which disperses funds to various Muslim organizations on campus.

In part with the two student organizations, food blogger You Had Me at Halal has helped get in touch with restaurants and promote the event to their nearly 65,000 Instagram followers. All available food is Halal, with cuisines including Indian, Pakistani, Mediterranean, Yemeni, Persian and some American places as well.

“We were very strategic about trying to represent the Halal food scene in Houston,” said EidFest committee chair and finance and marketing junior Abdullah Ghafoor.

The organizers are slowly announcing the restaurants on their Instagram, as a way to increase engagement and give students something to look forward to.

“I think people are going to be really excited because we just have so much diversity of what’s gonna be offered; a little bit of everything and a lot of people will have favorites that they will want to go to,” Ghafoor said.

While there will be mostly food vendors, students can get henna done or purchase hijabs, abayas and thobes from retail vendors.

Students are also encouraged to attend in their cultural outfits as there will be a small “Best Dressed” competition.

In the future, Ghafoor hopes to have more activities for students to participate in, aside from food and retail vendors.

“We were thinking about doing activities, but since it’s our first time organizing this and we definitely have some higher costs than we would have in the future, we wanted to not do activities for now,” Ghafoor said.

Planning for the event began in December and has been a growth opportunity for everyone involved, but has been going smoother than expected and support from the Center for Student Involvement has made the entire experience easier, Ghafoor says.

“Any questions we had, they (CSI) answered them,” Ghafoor said. “They gave us advice that we didn’t even know we needed.”

Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and was celebrated on April 9 and 10 this year. 

“We have two major holidays and this is one of them,” Khattab said. “We wanted to kind of share that joy with everybody on campus.”

By holding CougarEidFest after the actual holiday and closer to the end of the semester, students can take a break and enjoy the festival before heading into finals week.

“I just want it to become a yearly tradition hopefully, and I’m hoping it becomes a bigger UH thing,” Ghafoor said. “I want everyone at UH to be excited about it every single year and we just want to keep making it better.”

The festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Lynn Eusan Park.

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