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Peace Education

Sixth “Christmas Star” Festival Bears the Light of Peace

2014 Highlights UPF worldwide

Hyvinkää, Finland - Russian and Finnish children took part in the sixth “Light of the Christmas Star” festival and competition on Dec. 4 to 7, 2014.

The annual festival is part of the Baltic Dialogue Initiative organized by UPF-Eurasia.

The first day’s events were held in the Sveytsi Hotel in Hyvinkää, a suburb of the Finnish capital, Helsinki. The older Russian participants (aged 11 to 17) played a creative game called "Live in Peace with Others" under the guidance of Tatiana Krasnosumova, secretary general of the northwest chapter of UPF-Russia and an Ambassador for Peace. Through this program the children concluded that although all people are different, they should live in peace, mutual understanding and respect, and an atmosphere of tolerance.

At the end of the meeting, they made paper doves with good wishes on the wings for their peers in Finland. At a gala concert on the last day of the festival, they handed a bag with the paper doves to the director of the Muzykanty children's cultural center in Helsinki.

Younger children participated in a drawing contest. They could choose as the topic for their work either “Russia is the country of the future” or “I + my family create the future of tomorrow.” Marina Shcherbakova, deputy director general of the artist Mikhail Shemyakin’s Foundation and an Ambassador for Peace, assessed the drawings. The ten winners received UPF diplomas and small souvenirs.

The next day was devoted entirely to talent competitions that were in the Martinus Concert Hall located in Helsinki. Participants competed in the following categories:

Choreography: classical dance; folk dance (dances of the peoples of the world); pop dance with modern elements of choreography;

Vocals: pop vocals; jazz vocals; academic vocals; folk singing and folklore;

Instrumental creativity: classical, folk, pop, jazz music; stringed bowed instruments; piano; synthesizer;

Artistic skills: painting, drawing, plastic, small forms, decorative arts and photography.

According to the jury and the audience, as well as the contestants, there were no losers in the competition! All the contestants were winners simply because they attended the festival, demonstrated their abilities and talents, and gained a wonderful experience at the international festival.

Especially memorable were performances of: the Yakuts from the village of Berdigestjah; cellist Dasha Kalyuzhnaya of St. Petersburg Music School No. 11; singer Valeria Brilliantova of St. Petersburg School No. 579; synthesizer virtuoso Yaroslav Volkov of St. Petersburg Preparatory High School No. 67; and representatives of the Russian diaspora in Finland, including a children’s quartet and a brother and sister duo.

Among the contestants were also adult representatives of Finland and Russia.

At the end of the contest, the participants went on a sightseeing tour of Helsinki.

In the evening, all participated in the Finnish festival of Pikkujoulu, or “little Christmas,” with cheerful games and competitions. Children participated in the staging of a Christmas fairy tale directed by Ambassador for Peace Andrey Vasilyev and created their own Christmas cards under the guidance of Ambassador for Peace Natalia Makuha.

The participants in the artistic skills competition presented their paintings with explanatory fairy tales.

The children welcomed Joulupukki (Father Christmas), who gives presents to children. This time he brought a whole truck of ginger cookies, traditional Christmas treats in Finland, as well as non-alcoholic mulled wine with nuts and raisins!

On the last day of the festival, there was a gala concert of the best performers, who received diplomas and prizes.

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