Namashkar! Presenting the Moscow Durga Puja…
2022 – Lessons in Reflection, Gratitude, and Seeking Out the Strength Within.
Last year, Moscow celebrated its 32nd Durga Puja festival in a limited capacity. This year also, however, as the world relentlessly battles the perilous pandemic, these celebrations have become more imperative than ever – to rekindle hope, determination, and positivity among everyone. Thus, the Moscow Durga Puja Committee is committed to conducting this year’s festivities, whilst being fully compliant withal safety measures and precautions needed in these unprecedented circumstances.
It is important not to forget the humble beginnings of the Moscow Durga Puja - three decades back, a group of resourceful, enthusiastic, and intent Indians, who envisaged the celebration of Durga Puja on foreign shores, joined hands to accomplish this herculean task. The ordeal of arranging for traditional Puja items (samagri), and conquering other logistical barriers, didn’t fetter their efforts. Thus, the very first Puja was organised successfully as a result of their toil and dedication, and was inaugurated by Swami Lokeswarananda of Ramakrishna Mission.
Over the years, the festivities have widened in reach, culminating in what is now a true melting pot of cultures. Our Russian friends, including Russian academicians, Orientalists, and Indophiles, are an integral part of our Puja. Their adoration, fascination, and appreciation for the plethora of vibrant Indian traditions and customs are truly very endearing.
Although the land is devoid of the traditional Bengali flowers that bloom during Puja, such as Shiuli`Phool (Nyctanthesarbor-tristis) and Kash Phool (Saccharumspontaneum), the spirit of the festival hasn’t dampened. What really sets the festivities at Moscow apart from other overseas celebrations is the care taken to perform the Puja on the traditional dates as per the Bengali lunar calendar. This is a week-long programme conducted by Swami Jyotirupananda, founder of the Moscow Ramakrishna Vedanta Centre.
Not only is Durga puja a spiritual and religious occasion, but it’s also a place for social and cultural interactions. Despite the celebrations not being of the same scale as previous years, we all hope to show solidarity with unwavering spirit and vigour. Our celebrations are usually interspersed with various cultural activities, comprising performances – both by in-house as well as guest artists – in song, dance, and other art forms. Contests and quiz events are also conducted with a special focus on children. Aaratrika, our annual festive magazine, is released on this occasion as well.
Therefore, let us all join hands in solidarity to celebrate this auspicious occasion! May Maa Durga shower her blessings on all and help us emerge stronger from these challenging times.