Lanterns, red envelopes, the Friendlies, decorations to mark the incoming Year of the Dog ... These can be found as far away from China as Moscow. Despite freezing temperatures, the warm festive atmosphere of the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year has spread to the snowy Russian capital.
Containing these classic elements in Chinese culture, a series of eye-catching pop art structures are displayed in downtown Moscow's iconic GUM State Department Store next to the Red Square. The shopping center is jointly holding with the China Cultural Center in Moscow a spectacular 20-day theme event featuring the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival.
"We held many consultations on how to celebrate the Chinese New Year. We tried not to use traditional Chinese red lanterns, but nevertheless, we turned to history and tried to make a connection between Chinese traditions, Chinese art and modern China," GUM's managing director Teimuraz Guguberidze told Xinhua.
Designed by a talented Chinese contemporary artist, the art installation unites cultural elements of China and Russia, such as China's Friendlies dolls and Russia's Matryoshka dolls as well as China's "blessed eggs" and Russia's Faberge eggs, marking the occasion of the festival with rich visual effects.
"The Spring Festival is perfect when it's snowing outside. We gladly used the bright colorful decorations of Jackie Tsai to create a special atmosphere," said Guguberidze.
In such a joyful setting, a number of traditional Chinese art performances including the Dragon Dance, the Yangko Dance and the Change of Masks stunt, as well as the Chinese embroidery exhibition "The Great Silk Road" and the art of Chinese tea tasting are presented to customers both at home and abroad.
China's modern culture is also highlighted, with the program including food by a three-Michelin star chef, the photo exhibition "Contemporary China: 100 New Places to See" and the screening of classic Chinese movies.
"We see how progressive and fashionable China is today, and this is how we want to portray China to tourists," said Guguberidze.
The GUM event is part of the "Joyful Spring Festival" celebrations sponsored by the Chinese Ministry of Culture, which started in 2001, with the aim of popularizing Chinese culture among people across the world.
Gong Jiajia, cultural attache at the Chinese Embassy in Russia and director of the China Cultural Center in Moscow, said that the GUM event is a manifestation of "high-level cultural exchanges" between the two countries and that Chinese people are happy to show their Russian friends the beauty of the most important festival of the year in China.