On January 13 the Embassy of Russia in India hosted a colourful fancy ball on the occasion of the Orthodox Christmas, which has already become a traditional and remarkable event in the cultural and social life of the Indian capital.
The celebrations saw influential statesmen and political leaders, prominent public figures, notable businessmen, cultural bohemia and diplomats. Our compatriots residing in India also took part the New Year and Christmas festivities along with the families of the officials from the Embassy and Russian companies in New Delhi.
A beautiful live Christmas tree brought from Russia especially for this occasion saw a gathering of about 500 guest featuring various fancy dresses and national attires.
There were medieval princesses and knights from a fairytale, fairy godmothers and wicked wizards, catholic priests and ascetic yogis, a complete gang of pirates and highwaymen, maharajas and maharanis, a Russian beauty in kokoshnik with her betrothed in a Russian-style shirt, and an inquisitor. Enjoying admiring glances, guests in Roman togas, Malvina and Alisa, Briggite Bardot and, of course, Grandpa Frost with his granddaughter Snow Maiden were strolling across the Embassy White Hall.
This is the third year in a row that in January the Embassy’s hospitable halls throw open the doors for Russia’s friends. According to H.E. Ambassador Alexander Kadakin, “a fancy ball – now an almost forgotten genre in diplomatic protocol – becomes increasingly popular among Indians”. “As we saw, many of our guests took their time to come up with an ingenious and memorable costume”, noted the Ambassador.
The ball got added lustre thanks to the performance of the wonderful ensemble – Dixieland jazz band from Kaliningrad. Its vast and diverse programme included world jazz hits, Elvis Presley style compositions, rock-n-roll chartbusters. Indian guests and Russian compatriots were treated with a popular Hindi song from the Bollywood movie “Disco dancer” and a classic Russian romance.
Everyone agreed that the celebration was a success – guests were in raptures and obviously enjoying themselves. An independent jury with Mr Ajay Bisaria, MEA Joint Secretary, Ambassador of Finland H.E. Mrs Terhi Hakala and Ambassador of Kazakhstan H.E. Mr Doulat Kuanyshev on the board had difficult time trying to decide the winners of the Fancy Ball Queen and King contest.
The prizewinners were Mr Alexander Antipin, ITAR TASS correspondent in India, sporting a Whiteface costume, and Mrs Julia Aryaeva, Embassy’s third secretary, as a cheerful clown in a colourful wig.
This year the Russian Old New Year coincided with the Indian folk celebrations of the Lohri festival which culminates in making a bonfire of a man of straw thus symbolizing a farewell to the winter cold in a remarkable resemblance of the Shrovetide traditions. Following these ancient folkways, the Embassy’s lawn saw such a man of straw burning to the thunder of the festive fireworks.