Highlights from Nowruz – Celebrate and Learn

What a great time we had at our first ever Nowruz celebration in the Lounge on 21 March! Nowruz is the traditional Persian New year Celebration, celebrated by more than 300 million people all around the world.

Our event brought the University community together to learn about fascinating Nowruz traditions, share traditional food and enjoy activities including egg decorating.

A crowd of people chat and paint small eggs in the Global Lounge

Bristol SU’s Persian Society played a crucial role in organising the event. Society President Niki Tahouri reflected:

The traditional food we all tried was absolutely delicious, but the real star of the show proved to be the egg painting, with a constant crowd waiting to get their hands on the little wooden eggs to create a mini masterpiece!

Also, as the event warmed up, we managed to get everyone dancing to some Persian pop songs, with the society members sharing their immense dance skills with all the attendees.

The Global Lounge team were incredible to work with and made our special Nowruz celebration better than we could have imagined! It was great to see so many people attending and sharing this exciting day, filled with great food, dancing, and culture, and I really hope we can collaborate with the Lounge more in the future.

In particular, we at the Persian Society would like to thank Alex, Elena, Nasim, and Ola for their great help and support for this event!   


Explore more photos below:

Attendees take photos in front of customised backdrop and balloons.
There were some great photo opportunities.



A selection of items laid out on table, candlesticks, mirror, flowers and a book.
A beautiful traditional arrangement.
5 people pose for a photograph in front of traditional objects on a table
There were plenty of laughs.
Food laid out on table
We served some delicious food on the day, here’s just a selection.
People laugh together and paint wooden eggs
Wooden egg-painting proved popular.
People decorate wooden eggs
More people enjoy egg decorating.
Three people chat
Attendees had the chance to socialise at the event.
People play board games.
There was also the opportunity to play some traditional games.
People photograph the Nowruz decorations.
We adorned the Lounge with beautiful traditional decorations, which proved a hit with attendees!

Hanukkah in the Lounge

Last December we linked up with Bristol SU’s Jewish Society (J-Soc), Student Inclusion and the Multifaith Chaplaincy to celebrate Hanukkah with a delicious dinner, interactive quiz, fascinating talks and games. With over 90 of you in attendance, it was bustling event which bought students and staff from all parts of the University community together.

We heard more about the customs and traditions of Hanukkah from society members, who shared some fascinating insights and their own personal stories. For those less familiar with the celebration, it was a great chance to learn all about Hanukkah. We heard why it is tradition to fry food in oil, and we were also treated to an introduction to the menorah (which a nine-branched candle traditionally lit each day).

Thanks goes to J-Soc, our brilliant student ambassadors, Student Inclusion, the Multifaith Chaplaincy and the Global Lounge team, who all worked hard to make the event such a success.

Take a video tour


Explore future events
👉 Make new friends and experience different cultures, explore our future events.


Day of the Dead celebration

We partnered up with Bristol SU’s Mexican Culture Society to host the traditional Mexican celebration ‘Día de los Muertos’, or Day of the Dead, on 2 November. Held yearly to honour the deceased, it’s a celebration full of joy, food and music!

Tickets were so popular, we decided to host it in the Anson Rooms so there was space for everyone. As well as colourful decorations, there were tons of fun activities to get involved in.

Queues formed quickly at the face painting stall, where Global Lounge Ambassadors showed their artistic flair painting intricate designs. Over at the crafting tables there was the opportunity to ‘build your own Calavera’ and make a traditional face mask.

‘I cannot express how happy we were yesterday being able to share some of our traditions with you all, and at the same time being able to create, in some way, a space that made us feel closer to home.’
Paulina Govea, Research Assistant, School of Chemistry

After tucking into some tasty burritos, we enjoyed fantastic dance performances and interactive games, including energetic games of musical chairs.

Despite the torrential rain outside, the Anson Rooms was filled with a lively cohort of students and staff. Thank you to the the Mexican Culture Society for their fantastic contribution, the Global Lounge Ambassadors for helping the event run smoothly, the hard work of the Global Lounge team and to all the wonderful attendees who enjoyed the evening!

Watch the video
Bristol SU volunteer, Maddie Green, asked Day of Dead attendees how they would describe the Global Lounge in one word, and this is what they said!

Diwali celebrations with the Vice-Chancellor

We joined forces with the wonderful students from Bristol SU’s Indian Society to host an exciting Diwali celebration in the Lounge.

As well as over two hundred home and international students, we were delighted to have the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Evelyn Welch, attend the festivities.

Students who celebrate annually wore beautiful traditional dress, with many spending their first Diwali away from home. For others who were less familiar with Diwali, the event was a fantastic chance to learn more about the ‘Festival of Lights’, it’s history and traditions.

Students celebrate Diwali in the Global Lounge with the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Evelyn Welch
Students celebrate Diwali in the Global Lounge with the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Evelyn Welch

Society members spoke about how Diwali is celebrated in different parts of India and traditional refreshments were enjoyed by all. Attendees were also treated to a range of fun activities, including henna tattoos, crafting and painting Rangoli designs.

By the end of the evening, the colourfully-decorated Lounge was filled with dancing, singing and traditional music. Thanks to everyone who came and made the event such a great success.

Diwali celebrations
Current students, Global Lounge staff and Ambassadors celebrate Diwali together

Fancy coming to our next event? Sign up to our newsletter or visit our events page to find out what’s coming up.

📷 Ola Drummond



Open Iftar

On the 28 and 29 of April the Global Lounge, and friends, welcomed students and staff to the Wills Memorial Building for a grand, two-night ‘Open Iftar’ celebration.

Iftar is the meal eaten by Muslims after sunset while they are fasting for Ramadan (iftar literally means to ‘break fast’). The Global Lounge was delighted to hold the event in person, following virtual celebrations in 2020 and 2021.

Great hall Bristol universityWomen chat animatedly at the eventIftar dinner servedMany people pray togetherSomeone giving a speechHappy Ramadan Mubarak signDiners smilesA plate of datesPeople chat and smileIftar diners chattingPeople eat at low tables

The lively, free event brought hundreds of Muslim and non-Muslim members of the university community together in the specially decorated Great Hall to share a traditional meal and learn more about Islam. Both events included a prayer for Muslim guests, a home-cooked dinner and speeches from six guest speakers. The space looked even more magical than ususal, lit up with green lights, to symbolise new life and growth.

‘The energy and the spirit level from everyone, from the student ambassadors to our advocate, was incredible. I am so proud of what we have achieved.’
Robiu Salisu, Student Inclusion Officer (BAME)

From undergraduate and postgraduate to staff, all guests had the chance to mingle and share ideas while enjoying a delicious meal cooked up by the Somali Women’s Kitchen. Following Islamic tradition, the meal started with dates, before everyone tucked into some hearty beef samosas and delicious beef and vegetable curries.

Of course, the Global Lounge could not have held such a successful event without the hard work of its fellow organisers:

Alison Golden-Wright, Director of Student Health and Inclusion, was impressed with the turn out, and said: ‘I’d like to say how much I enjoyed Thursday’s Open Iftar. It was a lovely event and great to see so many people in attendance. Well done to everyone involved – all the hard work really paid off!’ News of the iftar event spread beyond the university; it was great to see the celebrations captured on camera by BBC Breakfast and also featured in the Bristol Post.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year in Islam. Muslims observe the month of Ramadan by fasting (not eating or drinking during the hours of daylight) and paying special attention to their charity-giving and helping others.

What is iftar?

Iftar is the meal eaten by Muslims after sunset whilst they are fasting for Ramadan (iftar literally means to ‘break fast’). It is the second meal of the day; the pre-dawn meal is called suhur. Traditionally, in emulation of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, three dates are eaten to break the day’s fast before the meal.

A plate of dates
Dates are traditionally eaten to break the fast.
Many people pray together
Muslim attendees prayed before eating




Fancy coming to our next event? Sign up to our newsletter or visit our events page to find out what’s coming up.

📷 Christy Nunns




Global food fiesta

Our global food fiesta brought the University of Bristol community together on Thursday 24 March in celebration of something that’s always popular in the Lounge, food!

But the celebrations didn’t stop there, attendees were also treated to musical performances, Bollywood dancing and a spirited set from Indian-fusion student band, Taal. The variety of entertainment and tasty selection of international cuisine attracted around 150 students and staff, all in all a great success.

People Bollywood dancingSociety students poseFood being served to studentSamosassmiling students pose for cameraCrowd chatting at the fiestaTray of sushiStudent plays chinese instrumentMexican food dishTaal band plays guitarbubble tea

It was inspiring to hear lively conversations taking place between students from all over the globe. The food stalls in particular sparked many discussions about the cultural significance of the unique foods served up.

The wonderful Bristol societies who shared a feast of international fare included:

The Bangla Society cooked some delicious home-made Bengali street food which proved a hit, and the Tamil Society expertly crafted veggie tinga for all to enjoy.

Students chat at fiesta

Whilst tucking into their choice of snack, attendees were entertained by performances from talented Bristol students. As well listening to Taal, everyone had the opportunity to hear beautiful music played by Dan Qin and Chenyi Xuan on the ‘Pipa and ‘Guqin’ (traditional Chinese instruments).

An energetic routine from the Bollywood Dance Society (performed by Sophiya Joseph, Maliha Mubarak, David Johnson and Sujith Kannan) was also a highlight.

The fiesta didn’t just unite people over food and spark conversations, it provided a great chance to learn about a fascinating variety of culturally and historically significant cuisines.

Thanks to those who came, hosted stalls, performed, and organised such a wonderful event, and to the Lounge’s talented volunteer photographers, who expertly captured the bustling atmosphere in their images.

Fancy coming to our next event? Sign up to our newsletter or visit our events page to find out what’s coming up.


📷 Kyun Wang and Vidu Chandrasena

If you’d like to volunteer as a photographer at Global Lounge events, get in touch.


Volunteer for our ‘student life’ webinars

Dear Global Lounge community, we need your help!

In May, the Global Lounge will be recording a virtual series of ‘student life webinars’ and we need volunteers to ask questions during the online presentations.

What are student life webinars?

In these webinars, our Global Lounge Ambassadors will be delivering presentations on a range of topics surrounding student life in Bristol, providing new students with an introduction to university life and the city of Bristol. The webinars will give new students a comprehensive, (and fun!) insight into life in the city, from a student perspective.

How you can help

We need current students to ask ambassadors questions during the webinars, to delve deeper into the subject of the presentation. If you can’t think of any questions it’s not a problem, as you will be provided with one to ask.

Please note that these webinars will be recorded on Zoom, so you must be comfortable being on camera when asking ambassadors your question. We will be using these recordings for incoming students for the 2022/23 academic year.

Each student life webinar will last for 1 hour, and you will be given a piece of Global Lounge merchandise for each webinar you help us with!

To register your interest, please email global-lounge@bristol.ac.uk with ‘student life webinar volunteer’ in the subject title by 9 am, on 28 April.

We will get back to you soon with more information.

People chat at fiesta group shot