National Geographic Russia and National Geographic Traveler magazines erected a pavilion at the Wild Mint Festival held on June 1 to 3 in Moscow. Confucius Institute instructors shared secrets of Chinese culture with visitors during the three-day event. The festival was timed to coincide with the release of the June issue of National Geographic Russia magazine and its cover story on the terracotta army of China.
The first evening in the National Geographic tent was devoted to Chinese board games. Mahjong Federation President and Matszyan Club Director Alexei Bolshakov conducted a matszyan (mahjong) workshop, and Chinese Chess Federation President Irina Golovina explained the subtleties of Xiangqi. The workshop participants became so engrossed in the games that they could not stop playing. The tournaments lasted until sunset, at which point the players interrupted their games to resume the match the next morning.
The weather turned bad on the second day, but a pleasant surprise awaited visitors to the National Geographic pavilion: a Chinese tea ceremony workshop. Yulia Malysheva, director of the Tea Corner of the Confucius Institute, along with lecturer and Chainaya Karta (Tea Map) member Sergei Vlasov spoke on the principles guiding the classification of tea, tea culture history, methods of preparing tea and the geographic origins of various traditions.
A series of workshops throughout the third day were devoted to the ancient art of calligraphy. Confucius Institute calligraphy instructor Alexander Belyayev shared his secrets and conducted a quiz: “Guess the meaning of the hieroglyphic.”
Despite the inclement weather, the festival was a success, and the National Geographic magazines managed to turn the event into an oasis of Chinese culture. Everyone wanting to be a part of that experience can purchase the latest issue of the magazine with a Chinese warrior on the cover.