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Regular version of the site

‘It Truly Felt Like a Mini India’

On March 22, the Atrium on Pokrovsky Boulevard turned into a venue to celebrate ‘Holi: the Festival of Colours,’ organised by the Department of Internationalisation. The festival was put together on the initiative of the HSE Indian Club in cooperation and with the Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Centre of the Embassy of India.

Holi is an annual spring festival in India, celebrated according to the lunar calendar. The festival falls in February or March and marks the beginning of new life. Participants of the celebration see off winter and welcome the new season with joy, bright colours, and traditional rituals. The holiday has deep historical roots: Holi was mentioned in the Vedas, a collection of ancient sacred scriptures of Hinduism.

Modern rituals include decorating houses and streets, burning effigies in a bonfire, tossing about powders of bright colour, vibrant dancing, preparing festive food and drinks, and playing national musical instruments.

The festival of colours in HSE University embodied the uniqueness and beauty of Indian culture and gave the visitors an opportunity to encounter its amazing facets. The guests of the event took part in workshops learning to put on saris and play the Indian tabla drum. They watched spectacular national dances, tried their hand at the fine art of calligraphy and mehndi, and tasted masala tea and traditional treats.

The festival was opened with the ceremonial lighting of a lamp symbolizing the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. The festival was co-organized by the Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Centre and the Embassy of India in Moscow. The Director of the Cultural Centre Madhur Kankana Roy, opening the event, began by quoting a famous 19th century Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky who said, ‘Colour is a power which directly influences the soul.’ ‘We are meant to see the world in colours and appreciate all of the beauty it shows us. Autumn orange, blues of the ocean, shades of green leaves—there is so much to admire and appreciate in life. And today let us celebrate life, celebrate Holi—the festival of colours, the festival of love and happiness!’ said Ms Roy.

The Indian community of HSE initiated the event and actively participated in its organization. Head of HSE Indian club Diksha Khosla recalls that it started with an idea to hold an Indian event, showing the beauty and diversity of the culture. ‘Since spring was approaching, nothing could be a better event than Holi to welcome spring. Holi in India has a significance similar to Maslenitsa in Russia,’ says Diksha. HSE Indian club members acted as volunteers and enthusiastic participants. They also arranged for a few Indian artists living in Moscow to perform at the event. ‘We had invaluable support from both JNCC and the Support and Career Centre for International Students and Alumni, and I am really happy that our strenuous efforts and multiple meetings with the organizing team resulted in such a great event with a lively atmosphere, lots of dancing, fun, and colours. HSE University gave us a wonderful chance to meet friends (not only HSE students, but the whole Indian community) and celebrate Holi the way we would back at home,’ summarized Diksha.

Festival participants were also eager to share their impressions. Chen Shanshan from China, a trainee of International Prep Year, commented with excitement on the exotic Indian cuisine and her own passion for yoga, which was also practiced at the festival. ‘One of my roommates is Indian, and she introduced me to this amazing culture,’ Chen said.

Benjamin Sarpong from Ghana shared his delight about participating in the Holi festival, which he had only heard about before. He believes that the colourful festival of Holi has a global appeal and inclusiveness. ‘It would be great if the festival was held in open air so I could completely cover myself in colours,’ Benjamin laughs.

Efat Abulfazil, a third-year psychology student from Afghanistan, noted that such events help international and Russian students to better understand one another. ‘This is a really good opportunity for international students, who come from different parts of the world, to understand new culture and various traditions. Such events are good for recognizing differences and finding similarities between people,’ she explained.

Stay tuned to HSE International Student Support for all news and announcements.

Abhishek Kardam, master’s student of data science, from India, noticed that the event was meticulously planned, and every aspect was executed flawlessly. ‘From the delicious array of food that tantalized our taste buds to the captivating fashion walk, every detail was a testament to the dedication and hard work put out.’

Jyoti Kumari, student of the master’s programme ‘Politics. Economics. Philosophy,’ from India, shared his impressions, ‘It truly felt like a mini India, where we could celebrate the joy and unity that Holi embodies. Kudos to the organizers for creating such a memorable and immersive experience!’

Holi: the Festival of Colours at HSE University embodied the spirit of cultural diversity and inclusivity, reflecting our commitment to creating a vibrant and welcoming community that celebrates traditions from around the world,’ Kirill Kisel, Director of Internationalisation, noted at the opening ceremony. Through engaging workshops, cultural demonstrations, and festive euphoria, the event undoubtedly made an incredible impression on participants, fostering a sense of unity.

To receive updates about India-related events at HSE University, subscribe to the HSE Indian Club channel on Telegram.

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