Hennafest returns, focused on faith and art

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On Friday, December 6, the Muslim Student Association (MSA) launched their third year of Hennafest events. This year’s Hennafest had a similar turnout to those of  previous years, with both Muslims and non-Muslims gathering to gain a deeper understanding of Islam.

MSA co-president junior Samia Abedin said, “The Muslim Student Association began only about three years ago, but despite how relatively new this club is, we see a growth of members from year to year.”

Main events included talks by motivational speakers such as Michael Abdus Salaam Deonarain, a college student who discussed how life’s hardships led him to find his faith. The first president of THHS’s MSA also shared inspirational stories about how she found faith, and a skit was performed by three students about Islamic culture. South Asian cuisine was also served. The main feature of the event, however, was the henna art done by numerous students, with designs varying from a simple heart to a detailed flower.

Sophomore Sherin Shibu, who attended Hennafest for the first time, said her favorite part of the event was getting the henna art itself.

“It was artfully applied, and the person who did it for me was amazing at doing it,” she said. “I kept it on overnight.”

Although Sherin was hesitant about attending Hennafest due to not being Muslim, she felt the event was applicable to people of all faiths.

“The speaker talked about how it felt to be discriminated against for your religion, and I value the chance to learn about other peoples’ faiths and hardships,” she said.

Henna artists also enjoyed the experience.

Freshman Sarah Gafur, a henna artist, said the event helped  elicit her artistic skills and she enjoyed talking with attendees.

MSA members have high hopes for next year’s Hennafest, especially since MSA’s membership has been increasing over the years.

“We had a great turnout as students of both Townsend Harris and other schools joined us to get henna done, listen to inspirational speeches, and try on a hijab—all revolving around this year’s theme of faith,” said Samia.  “Every year, we look to improve Hennafest so we hope without a doubt, that the next one will be even better.”

Next year, MSA hopes to add more forms of entertainment at Hennafest.

Despite this, attendees enjoyed Hennafest and look foward to its next iteration.

“I was impressed with the extensive MSA we have in our school,” said Sherin, “and I would definitely attend again.”