Slovenia: Emissary from the Kingdom of Bees
The Republic of Slovenia is located in the southern part of Central Europe. It is a small country at the foot of the Alps. It is sandwiched between these mountains and the Adriatic Sea and boasts particularly favourable national conditions. It borders Italy to the west and Austria and Hungary to the north. Vast areas of dense and lush forests are spread through its 20,273-sq. km territory. It also features the Triglav National Park and Lake Bled, which are splendid landscapes that attract large numbers of tourists from all over the world.
Slovenia not only has beautiful natural scenery but also boasts profound historical and cultural heritage. Its unique and exotic charm and abundant historical and cultural relics offer travellers a rewarding experience. Ljubljana is its capital and also the largest city in Slovenia.
Every year, World Bee Day is observed on May 20. Most people probably do not know anything about it. This year, the Embassy of Slovenia in China made special arrangements with the Folk Museum of Slovenia to take Chinese visitors on a wonderful, cultural and artistic journey, in which the industrious bee plays the leading role.
The initiative to establish World Bee Day was originally proposed by the Slovenian government to the United Nations in April 2015. On December 20, 2017, the UN General Assembly officially announced that World Bee Day will be observed annually on May 20. The designation is intended to raise the public awareness of the ecological value of bees and help people understand the contribution that bees make to human health and ecological sustainability in a scientific manner. People may wonder why May 20 was chosen for World Bee Day. The reason is that this is the birthday of Anton Janša, who is known as the pioneer of modern beekeeping.
Despite a small population of about two million people and a small land area, Slovenia has always been a kingdom of beekeeping and has a particularly long history of beekeeping and honey production, due to its rich geological resources, diversity in flora and favourable climate conditions. The traditional technology of Slovenia makes its beekeeping and honey production ever more enduring. There are currently more than 10,000 beekeepers in Slovenia, the most of any country in the EU. There is a huge national demand for nutritious honey and its products. Slovenia ranks among the world's top honey consumers.
Visitors at Slovenia's booth at the “Colourful World—cultural Exhibition of Countries along the Belt and Road” event were able to learn about bees and conservation efforts to protect them in Slovenia. Various brochures and leaflets were provided, including some with information about World Bee Day. There was also an opportunity to paint traditional beehive patterns. A staff member showed people how to make them and said things like, “Please fill in the colours for the beehive's entrance.” There are nearly 750 painted beehive entrances preserved in a museum about folk culture Slovenia. These colourful decorations perfectly complement the folk art. Pictures often reflect religious themes that began in the 18th century and the daily lives of regular people, representing the very special, traditional, cultural heritage of Slovenia. At the event, several young people were given instructions by a professional from the museum and experimented with making oil paintings.
A director from the museum stated: “Slovenia has a very long history and rich traditional culture. We've brought the bee exhibition that is concurrently held at the Folk Museum of Slovenia to Beijing and presented it to our friends.” Visitors could also wear virtual reality ( VR) headsets to observe the structure of beehives and activity inside of them.
The director continued: “We bring different Slovenian cultural forms to our audiences every year.” Slovenia has participated in the “Colourful World” event before. Impressive handmade lace was presented last year at its booth and helped it become one of the most popular. This year was similar. “We value protecting our traditional art. Welcome to Slovenia!”