Rus­sia: A Cul­tural Feast

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS -

I love you, Peter's great cre­ation, I love your view of stern and grace, The Neva wave's re­gal pro­ces­sion, The gray­ish gran­ite—her bank's dress...” Rus­sian poet Alexan­der Pushkin writes in “Bronze Horse­man,” a must-read poem for lovers of Rus­sian cul­ture and one that for many read­ers is their first glimpse into the mys­ter­ies of Rus­sia. A widely-cir­cu­lated poem for fans of Rus­sian lit­er­a­ture, it looks to un­cover the mys­ter­ies of Rus­sia.

Lo­cated in the north­ern part of the Eurasian con­ti­nent, the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion borders the Arc­tic Ocean to the north, the Pa­cific Ocean to the east, and the Baltic Sea to the west. It stretches across 11 time zones and three cli­mate zones, bor­der­ing 14 coun­tries on land. Dom­i­nated by plains, Rus­sia has a tem­per­ate and sub­arc­tic cli­mate. It has a solid na­tional eco­nomic foun­da­tion which in­cludes a well-de­vel­oped travel in­dus­try. It boasts rich tourism re­sources in­clud­ing des­ti­na­tions such as the Red Square and the ma­jes­tic Krem­lin in Moscow. Its azure sky, white snow, and vividly-coloured build­ings are a nat­u­ral mag­net for tourists. The Rus­sian peo­ple are warm-hearted and broad-minded, a type of tem­per­a­ment nur­tured by the vast land they live on. Dur­ing the long win­ters, the Rus­sians have de­vel­oped a close re­la­tion­ship with na­ture. Their pas­sion for life is ex­pressed through mu­sic and dance. Del­i­cate and sen­ti­men­tal, the Rus­sian peo­ple have cre­ated fas­ci­nat­ing works of art and soul-search­ing lit­er­ary works.

At the “Col­or­ful World” event, the Rus­sian Em­bassy in Bei­jing made elab­o­rate prepa­ra­tions to show­case their di­verse na­tional cul­ture. At the coun­try's booth, sev­eral girls dressed in tra­di­tional cos­tumes dis­trib­uted fly­ers for the Rus­sian Cul­tural Cen­tre in Bei­jing. The fly­ers in­tro­duced the var­ied in­ter­est groups and the art cre­ation stu­dios of­fered at the cen­tre. Their “Happy Notes” Chil­dren's Choir, the “Lit­tle White Birch” Na­tional Dance Stu­dio, the Rus­sian Mu­sic Club, and Rus­sian lan­guage train­ing pro­grammes for chil­dren of­fer oc­ca­sions for peo­ple in Bei­jing to ap­proach and ex­pe­ri­ence Rus­sian cul­ture.

The Rus­sian booth also dis­played hand­i­crafts and del­i­ca­cies that are com­mon in Rus­sian fam­i­lies. Exquisitely made trays, straw san­dals, black hats with red and yel­low cloth flow­ers, Rus­sian-style scarves, sil­ver teapots, paint­ings based on Rus­sian folk­lore and pa­per ma­tryoshkas (some­times known as Rus­sian nesting dolls) are all crafts which man­i­fest the long cul­tural tra­di­tion in the coun­try. Vis­i­tors to the booth also had an op­por­tu­nity to try a va­ri­ety of cul­ture-re­lated projects, such as draw­ing Rus­sian ma­tryoshkas on hats or weav­ing a piece of knitwear with tra­di­tional Rus­sian char­ac­ter­is­tics.

A vol­un­teer at the booth said that though th­ese items look sim­ple, they em­body Rus­sian cul­ture. The ma­tryoshka is a per­fect ex­am­ple. Rus­sian ma­tryoshkas are a set of wooden dolls of de­creas­ing size placed one in­side an­other. The num­ber of dolls in one set can reach over 10. The dolls are usu­ally painted in bright colours and the most com­mon pat­tern is of a girl wear­ing a Rus­sian na­tional cos­tume. They orig­i­nated in the 14th cen­tury in the town of Zagorsk, about 70 km south of Moscow. Chil­dren and adults from all over the world are drawn by the ex­quis­ite carv­ing, paint­ing skills and the cul­tural mes­sages they con­vey.

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