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HOLI in Moscow!
Text and photos J. Harrison

On the 14th of March in the Palace of Culture ‘Gubkin’, the Indian Holi festival was celebrated. An unlikely venue as this may seem, the 4500-seater hall soon filled up with mostly local Indians. To accompany the celebrations, those who attended watched performances by 17 Indian dance groups from different Russian cities which competed in the ‘4th all-Russian Competition of India Dance’. All of the dance groups comprised of Russian dancers, many of which displayed quite amazing skills in not just empathizing with Indian traditional and contemporary dance styles, but creating a very positive response from the Indian audience many of whom got up from their seats and rocked, Indian style during some of the faster numbers. Well-known Bollywood actresses Shipra Khazana and Sakshi Gulati were there to share a bit of the beauty, and Russian artists Nikas Safronov and actor Nikoai Drozev made interesting comments about Russian culture in modern Russia. Nikas Safronov said: “I feel myself to be a child who has come into a child’s world of peace, love and happiness”.

HOLI is not only a spring festival, it is also a festival of equality. This is the only time when Indians forget about caste and join in a general praising of the Gods as equals. Young men in particular enjoy this event. It is the only day of the year they can get close to the girls, through throwing paint. Sammy Kotwani, the president of the Indian business Alliance said: “When the paint is mixed up, it becomes apparent that everyone has become equal. Your white skin is not visible any more, and neither is my dark skin. We are all the same.” People become the same before their Gods, and HOLI has fulfilled its purpose, until next spring. The event was organized by the Indian Business Alliance with the support of the STP Group of Companies and other sponsors. It was a fantastic event, and this humble journalist says thank you for being invited.

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