Food, henna, music, dance and an opportunity to learn are some of the things you’ll find if you come to Nur Night (pronounce nUUr) on Tuesday, April 16, at 7:30 p.m. The Muslim Student Association (MSA) will host the event as an opportunity to support and listen to minority students on campus.
The event has evolved since Hemani and Virani first came to Trinity when it was called Henna Night and only included henna and food. The name change from Henna Night to Nur Night was especially important to the MSA organizers.
“We changed the name from Henna Night to Nur Night because it’s more encompassing of Muslim Culture,” said Sarosha Hemani, senior and choreographer for the event. “Our shirts and our design were made by Dinda Lehrmann. It’s so beautiful. Seeing that transition has been really good.”
Henna Night was started as a remedy for the lack of celebration for Muslim culture on campus.
“[Past MSA president] Adam Syed realized that there wasn’t really anything for just Muslims. I think he wanted to create sort of a showcase for our culture,” Hemani said. “A lot of it comes from creating our space in the Trinity community.”
Nabeeha Virani, senior and an organizer of the event, emphasized the goal for people to learn at the event.
“We want to show the diversity of Muslim culture, I guess, in a way that’s kind of accessible and entertaining but also educational and knowledgeable,” Virani said.
Because the Muslim student population at Trinity is small, some participants in the show are not Muslim themselves. One such individual is Victoria Abad, a senior who is choreographing the belly dance.
“When I started at Trinity in 2015, I was just coming back from two and a half years of practicing oriental dances back home [in Ecuador],” Abad said. “I had actually gone up the levels of my belly dance and oriental dance courses really quickly, so when I came here I just wanted to continue. I used to go really early to the dance studio and practice.”
Abad appreciates how being involved in belly dancing has given her the opportunity to learn more about Muslim culture.
“If anyone knows belly dancing and would like to continue doing what I have been doing, please throw yourself into these things because it’s a good way to actually learn,” Abad said.
Beyond celebrating Muslim culture, the show provides an opportunity to address questions about identity.
“Everyone comes for free food and free henna, but the message behind it is what does it mean to be Muslim in America, to be Muslim at Trinity? I think this is a really good showcase that sort of encompasses all of those questions and those answers,” Hemani said.
Virani hopes that people will keep an open mind while attending the showcase.
“A lot of people go in with preconceived notions that it’s going to be political and all that. Which it kind of is because everything is, but be able to learn something and appreciate the diversity of what you’re about to see,” Virani said.
Hemani encourage people to bring their friends that may not usually attend cultural events.
“These cultural shows always seem to get the same sort of audience, and if we’re trying to make people aware of Muslim culture, it’s nice to have someone from outside of the scope come in. Bring a friend!” Hemani said.
Both Hemani and Virani are grateful to the officers of MSA — Arisha Ali, Juhi Choudhury, Dana Hatab, Bushra Sardar and Noor Rahman — for the organization of the event. Nur Night will take place in Laurie Auditorium on Tuesday, April 16.