Happenings: Arabian Night Festival

Middle East Culture Club offers learning experience, hospitality

Arabian Night 2009

By Billi London-Gray

The Middle East Culture Club at Texas State University has a lot to offer. From free food to free cultural experiences, the group aims to reach out and share Middle Eastern traditions with everyone on campus.

Tonight MECC is hosting its third annual Arabian Night Festival from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. at Cedars Café, located at 220 North Edward Gary in San Marcos. The club will provide free food, mint tea, hookahs and entertainment, including belly dancers. Event organizers hope the event gives students a glimpse into the warmth of Arab culture.

“It is really an inviting way to get people interested in a different culture,” says MECC president Lauren Kahre. “The festival immerses people in Middle Eastern culture for an evening where they can see that it’s a fun, welcoming environment.”

MECC hosts events throughout the school year, including Arabic-themed film screenings, poetry readings and gatherings at Middle Eastern restaurants. Each event is organized to share a different aspect of Middle Eastern culture.

“All of our activities center around the idea of spreading awareness of Middle Eastern and Arab culture,” Kahre says. “We try to open students’ minds to a different culture, in addition to just enjoying discussing the Middle East over some mint tea.”

The club has about 80 active members, most of whom are enrolled in the Arabic language program or Honors courses that focus on culture. MECC has no regular meeting time but usually meets two Thursday evenings a month in LBJ Student Center.

“There is no requirement for membership,” Kahre says. “Any one is welcome to join if they have an interest in learning about the Middle East in any way.”

For more information about the Middle East Culture Club or to request free tickets for tonight’s Arabic Night Festival, email mecctxstate@gmail.com or visit the group’s Facebook page.

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