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HENNAFEST HAS been a staple of Townsend Harris since 2010 and has been held in an attempt to introduce culture to the student body. This year HennaFest raised around $900, making a profit of $700. The money is used for the Muslim InterScholasitc Tournament (MIST), which is a three-day tournament that members of the MSA take part of every April. A lot of money is needed to pay for two new outfits, a T-shirt, button, and spirit items for each member of the team, which consists of around 50 members.
Senior Zainab Koli, the co-president of MSA, chose Self-Confidence to be the theme for HennaFest because they “see that it’s really an important issue for people right now, specifically teenagers.
If you just go on the Townsend Confessions page you can see how many kids have gone through times in their lives when they thought suicide was the only option. On the same page, you can see how many people think that they’re not smart enough, or pretty enough. And the other part of the theme was how social media and society can cause us to have low self confidence or have a twisted idea of it.”
For Senior Gaby Kluzinski HennaFest is more about the festivities than attaining self-confidence. “Going to HennaFest allows me to listen to speakers describe cultural obstacles that I don’t personally experience but that I could impact by being aware of what other people from other cultures could be going through,” she said.
She also commented on the main attraction of Hennafest: henna. “It’s a beautiful work of art, and I’m always in awe of the students who are able to do Henna for the rest of us.”
Henna is not only the focus of HennaFest, but a huge part of South Asian, Middle Eastern and Arab culture; many people learn the art form through an elder. Junior Yasmin Ally learned how to do henna from her aunts when she was young and now she does for others during special events, “such as Eid or a wedding.”
Junior Jensine Raihan, however, is self-taught. “I just saw the amazing patterns and designs people are able to fashion through mehndi and I was like, ‘I want to try to do this,’ and so I kind of self-taught myself.”
What differentiates Henna from other artistic cultural practices is its artistic style and beauty, Mehndi designs being a staple of celebrations from the religious Muslim holiday Eid to weddings.”
As sophomore Sarah Gafur puts it, HennaFest is primarily about connecting one to their culture: “After coming to this school, I can honestly say I’m more tapped into my roots than ever before.”