“Russia Unites Us!”: SUSU International Students Celebrate Nowruz

A celebration of Nowruz was held at South Ural State University. SUSU international students from Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan performed their folk songs and dances and introduced the audience to the traditions of greeting spring and the New Year by the solar calendar.

Nowruz coincides with the day of the vernal equinox, which occurs annually on March 20th-21st and symbolizes the beginning of a new life and the rejuvenation of nature. The goal of this event was to create an atmosphere of unity for the peoples of Russia and other countries, introduce the audience to their traditions and culture, and create a space for support of intercultural communications.

“Students from 52 countries study at our university, and it’s very important to everyone to remain close to their traditions. Nowruz is one of the most important holidays for many students – around 1,400 representatives of Asian countries study at SUSU. They are far from their homeland and, of course, miss their families and their culture. We hope that SUSU has become a second home to them, and that they are equally comfortable here. And for Russian students, these kinds of holidays are a great opportunity to learn more about the traditions of other countries,” noted Vice-Rector for International Relations Olga Yaroshenko.

This year representatives of different expat communities and social organizations in Chelyabinsk and the Chelyabinsk Region greeted the audience. The heads of the Uzbek National Cultural Centre Bobur, the Tajik National Cultural Centre Somoniyon, the Kazakh Social Centre Azamat, the Chuvash National Cultural Autonomy of Chelyabinsk, and the Kyrgyz National Cultural Autonomy Mekendeşter were invited to the holiday. The representatives of the Youth Assembly of South Urals were also honourable guests of the event.

“Nowruz is a global holiday, since UNESCO added it to the Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2009. I am very happy to be here at South Ural State University on this holiday. From all Tajiks living in the Chelyabinsk Region, I would like to congratulate the students and all residents of the city and region. I wish for peace and friendship to always prevail,” noted one of the guests of honour, Chairman of the Tajik National Cultural Centre Somoniyon Islomudin Radjabov.


The celebration of Nowruz at SUSU began with an exhibition of national symbols and household items of Asian peoples. Students also presented traditional dishes that are customary when celebrating this holiday. All of those treats they cooked themselves.

“We have cooked various national dishes: kulcha, fatir, qurutob, which are dishes that include dairy, fresh vegetables, ghee, and more. Today we’ve also brought the symbol of Nowruz for our guests – sumalak, which is cooked from sprouted wheat while the process of cooking is accompanied with traditional dances and chants. Anyone who wants to try what we have brought today is welcome, so that you can become even more acquainted with our culture,” said SUSU post graduate student Farida Sodikova.

SUSU students from CIS countries prepared creative gifts for the audience. The representatives of Kazakhstan performed the national dance Adai and the song Gul Kyzdar, a student from Uzbekistan performed the song Telbaman, a guest from Bashkortostan played the national instrument kurai, representatives from Turkmenistan showed the kushdepdi dance, and Kyrgyzstan entertained the crowd with the song Koktom yry and national dance Kyrgyz baike. Students from Tajikistan invited folk artist Bakhtiyor Eshonov, who sang a few songs to live music. The students also performed an energetic dance at the end of the event.

Nowruz at SUSU is organised by the International Office and the South Ural Association of International Students every year.

Azaliya Sharafutdinova, photos by Viktoria Matveichuk
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