Russia: A Cultural Feast
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.