NATICK, MA–Noureen Design, an art-based family owned business run by the Noureen Sultana and Waheed Khan, is hosting its 5th Annual Chand Raat Eid Festival on June 2, 2019 at the Hampton Inn Natick MA. The event, from 6:00 pm until midnight, is free and open to the public.
Here are the details of the program:
What: Chand Raat Eid Festival
When: June 2nd, 2019
Where: Hampton Inn, Natick, MA
Who: Noureen Design, friends and families
Why: Because it’s fun! And to build bridges and share cultures
How: Free and open to the public
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“The aim of this event is to bring together people from different backgrounds under one roof and build bridges between religions and nations. It’s about building community by creating a place for people to meet and share their culture,” said Waheed Khan.
The festival is intended as a safe space for Bostonians to share cultures and to create a sense of togetherness by celebrating the traditional South Asian festival of Chand Raat (‘Night of the Moon’) — a Hindi/Urdu term that commemorates the sighting of the new moon.
Chand Raat kicks off the colorful celebrations of the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Fitr, commemorated in South Asia in a uniquely South Asian manner. It marks the end of the Muslim month of fasting — Ramzan as South Asians call Ramadan. In Noureen and Waheed’s native India, people across religious communities, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and others celebrate Eid with Muslim friends and neighbors.
Sighting the new moon is the signal to greet each other “Eid Mubarak” and start preparing desserts for Eid. It also heralds the last round of shopping for new clothes and jewelry. Women and girls rush to get hands decorated with mehndi (henna).
Henna application, an intricate ceremonial body art form of temporary tattoos, is common to many cultures, particularly in the Middle East and South Asia. Applied on celebratory occasions such as weddings and births, it symbolizes good luck and prosperity for the future.
Their first Chand Raat Eid Festival in 2012 drew around 200 people. Last year, nearly 2,300 Bostonians participated in the event. The Noureen Design team, which now includes the couple’s sons Danish, 15, and Mahid, 11, expects even more people to attend the upcoming event on June 2nd this year.
There will also be an array of food and drink for sale as well as a dazzling range of clothing and jewelry items by a variety of vendors.
The event highlight is traditionally the mehndi (henna) application. Wielding cones like those used for icing cakes, Noureen and her team deftly apply mehndi, “painting” delicate floral and other designs onto clients’ hands.
Representing the fourth generation of Artists in her family, Noureen herself learned the art at a very young age from her mother Zaheer Unisa Begum, who in turn mastered the practice under the guidance of her own mother, Mahmooda Khatoon. It took Noureen nearly three years to learn it. A trained architect, she never thought of doing it as a business while in India.
Nor did she expect her American-born sons to develop a passion for it, though she was keen for them to know their culture. Watching her and helping at Noureen Design events, the boys not only love henna but have learnt to apply it.
Breaking gender stereotypes, their participation makes for an extraordinary aspect of the family business. Danish wants to be an engineer and Mahid wants to be a doctor. But they also love skillfully and spontaneously decorating dozens of hands at such events – and drawing a crowd of spectators surprised to see boys applying henna.
Another breakaway from tradition is henna-painting on canvas that Noureen pioneered, introducing it as a new art form some years ago with her intricately designed henna painted canvases.
Waheed, an accountant by profession, migrated to Boston from his native India in 2001. Noureen joined him the following year after their wedding. When she came here, she found there was no one to do skillful henna applications. “When a bride gets married, this is one of the most important things,” she says.
The couple launched Noureen Designs in 2005 to enable Noureen to continue her art and cater to the growing market for henna design, encouraged by an increasing interest in diversity and multi-culturalism.