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Tea Ceremony, Naruto and Norigae: HSE Celebrates Year of the Green Wood Dragon

Tea Ceremony, Naruto and Norigae: HSE Celebrates Year of the Green Wood Dragon

Photo by Ksenia Zorina

On the day of the second new moon after the winter solstice, the HSE Cultural Centre welcomed admirers of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese cultures. HSE students, teachers, and guests celebrated the Lunar New Year with South Korean hit songs and popular anime openings. They attended calligraphy and origami classes, tried regional sweets, and had Far Eastern teas. The festival ended with a big concert.

From Panda to Frog

The event is organised every year by students and educational staff of the HSE Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs

‘The specialisation of our faculty allows us to integrate the traditions of the areas we study into our lives. We are now celebrating the New Year for the third time. I am very happy that the ‘Holidays of the Peoples of the East’ project has turned into such a big event with so many happy faces,’ noted Deputy Dean for Research Alexandra Morozkina.

At the entrance to the Lunar Festival, guests could take a selfie with a panda before immersing themselves in the eastern atmosphere and participating in various activities. The HSE Chinese Club hosted calligraphy classes for adults and children, as well as a workshop on cutting out paper figures.

Visitors could also practice their origami skills by folding a frog, a symbol of good luck and well-being in China. They could also seek answers to life’s questions with the Yi Jing (the Book of Changes), a 3000-year-old Chinese text on divination.

From Cherry Blossoms to South Korean Idols

The Musubi Japanese Club hosted a quiz on the history, traditions, anime culture, and geography of Japan. Winners received stickers depicting ramen, cherry blossoms, and other elements of Japanese culture. Language learners could develop their Japanese writing skills in a master class by making postcards with New Year greetings in Japanese.

The Hanryang Korean Club trained handicraft lovers to make norigae, authentic decorations for the Korean national costume (hanbok). Guests created unique and beautiful pendants with only paper, beads, and a glue gun. The club members hosted a quiz about the history of South and North Koreas and talked about the Korean alphabet. Attendees could paint Hangul letters and then compare them with Chinese and Japanese characters.

The educational programme was followed by a tea party. The HSE Chinese club hosted a small Gongfu cha ceremony. Members of the Eastern Pier Club, who study South-East Asia, painted names and various words in Thai with henna on the hands of the guests and offered them nam dok anchan blue tea. This tea is made of dried buds of the Clitoria ternatea plant, also commonly known as bluebellvine or blue pea. Their fellow club members talked about Vietnamese culture and tested guests on their knowledge of regional traditions. 

From Rabbit to Dragon

Young students and teachers of Asian Studies at the HSE Lyceum presented their own festival stand.

‘Our students in grades 10–11 have classes in history, economics, and Asian studies, as well as the Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, and Korean languages. We at the HSE Lyceum help them better understand their academic aspirations, train them for school competitions, and witness how they graduate as self-confident students who go on to organise cool events at HSE,’ says Senior Curriculum Coordinator Nikol Sukiasyants.

It was HSE Lyсeum students headed by Anna Yanishevskaya, Senior Lecturer at the HSE School of Asian Studies, who opened the final concert of the Lunar Festival.

The audience enjoyed dancing by Japanese and Korean studies students, a Japanese comedy theatre performance (kyogen), and a cover version of a song by BTS main vocalist Jungkook. Members of the Black Turtle Wudang Wushu and Qigong club demonstrated their mastery of Chinese martial arts.

Vitaly Senotrusov

‘We have been preparing for the concert for several months and had long selection processes, rehearsals, and script readings. Our team worked with the HSE Cultural Centre and the speakers, volunteers, and organisers. We achieved our goal—the concert was a sensation,’ says Vitaly Senotrusov, fourth-year student of the Asian and African Studies Programme, chairman of the HSE Chinese Club, and one of the hosts of the concert.

‘This year is the first time that Moscow is celebrating the Lunar New Year on such a grand scale. Tverskaya Street and Kamergerskiy Pereulok are festively decorated with traditional Chinese stands and red lanterns. Many people are taking pictures, children are really excited. I believe this is a great start to a wonderful tradition,’ concludes Head of the HSE School of Asian Studies Andrey Karneev.

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