On June 12, the Russian tricolor was hoisted nine times to match the number of camps at the Children’s Center that welcome 3,500 boys and girls from 34 countries in June. Russia Day kicked off with a celebratory camp line-up.
According to Children’s Center head Alexei Kasprzhak, “When we say ‘Russia Day,’ we picture our homeland, the biggest country in the world with a population of almost 150 million. It has a long history, it is rich in natural resources, but its main wealth is its people. Artek is a miniature copy of Russia, a copy that looks to children, who are its future, and I am confident that our country’s future is in safe hands.”
The holiday was filled with memorable events, including meet-the-artist sessions, folklore song performances, games of the peoples of Russia, Russian cooking demonstrations, and athletic competitions.
Russia Day gifts were arriving as well, the most unusual one being a genuine raw-hide tent, or chum, brought from the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area. “We wanted children from different Russian regions and different countries to become familiar with traditions of the North. After all, Russia is a huge multi-ethnic country, and each of its ethnic groups has its unique culture and customs. We think this could become a good tradition, and Artek will have other ethnographic displays,” workshop organizer German Sandrin from the city of Salekhard said.
The children are unlikely to have another such opportunity to meet with representatives of so many Russian regions at once as they enjoy now at Artek. This is why they tried to use it to the full. Anna Zaitseva of Moscow says that Artek made her feel like a member of a big multiethnic family, and that was quite a new experience. Now she has many friends from different parts of Russia and she wishes that “great Russia, our country, and all Russians enjoy love and economic prosperity – and that there will never be war.”
Russia Day let children from 34 foreign delegations that came to Artek for this month witness Russia’s inimitable diversity, spirit and unity. Foreigners called Russia Day a day of friendship of all nations and were pleased to join its program. Said Shirin Adylova of Tashkent, “We came from Uzbekistan; every day we usually wear our Artek uniforms, but today we decided to show our respect for Russia and put on some elements of our national costumes, representing our friendly country. Children from different countries come to Artek; we learn about different countries, make new friends, and socialize. I congratulate Russia on this holiday and wish everyone peace and friendship.”