Yesterday, the Office of International Education and the Memorial Union Board partnered up to bring a taste of Indian culture to the University of Rhode Island. The Big Event: An Indian Block Party took place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Memorial Union.

Now in its fourth year, this annual event aims to feature the culture and language of different international regions. 

“Every year we try to highlight a new culture,” Colleen Grinham, a graduate assistant in the Office of International Education and coordinator of this year’s The Big Event said. “Somewhere that is culturally relevant, maybe somewhere that we really want people to study abroad or places that are popular.”

The event featured various activities, including free henna and free yoga sessions led by a representative from URI Health and Wellness. Traditional and contemporary Indian performances took place, including traditional Indian dance and story telling through dance.

There was a Sand Rangoli art station, which involves using colored rice and flower petals to create a design on the ground. Vendors were also at the event, selling goods such as tapestries and jewelry. And what would an event be without free food? Traditional Indian dishes, such as vegetable korma, rice, raita and samosas were featured at The Big Event.

Study abroad booths were set up, providing general information on studying abroad as well as information on financing. An Indian representative from The American Institute for Foreign Study was also present at the event. According to Grinham, many URI students study abroad in India through this program.

The Big Event started in 2011, with the Big Event Ireland. It was not until last year that The Big Event partnered with the Memorial Union Board’s annual Block Party.

“We decided to join forces because our events were going on at the same time,” Grinham said. “Historically this was an indoor event [but] as the weather got nicer we decided to join funding and join events with the Block Party.”

 Who knows what next year’s Big Event will hold, The Office of International Education is open to suggestions of cultures to celebrate next spring. Anyone interested in giving input can contact them by e-mail at oie@etal.uri.edu.