Hungarian arts & crafts: Artisans share traditions with visitors in Beijing
By Ren Xueqian
As part of its Christmas celebrations, the Beijing Hungarian Cultural Institute is holding a series of events to ramp up the holiday spirit.
Among the events, the Hungarian arts and crafts activities have captured the attention of many.
Hungary's vibrant folk art culture can be traced back to the village life of centuries past. These traditions were passed down to new generations through artists and craftsmen who have devoted themselves to honing and teaching folk art. And now, they are sharing these traditions with some new friends.
Šúpolienky are traditional dolls made of dry corn husks ./CGTN Photo

Šúpolienky are traditional dolls made of dry corn husks ./CGTN Photo

By using some dried corn husks, straws and a pair of scissors, Tünde, a travelling Hungarian folk artisan, showed the visitors how she turned trash into treasure.
"The people who live in villages, they grow corn and use all parts of the plant," she said.
"For example, the children would make toys from the leaves, ladies would make baskets…something they could use in the kitchen or just around the house". 
Corn husk ornaments. /CGTN Photo

Corn husk ornaments. /CGTN Photo

Depending on the shape and design of the piece, it can be hung, taped, or placed anywhere to boost the holiday spirit. In addition to making corn husk dolls, the visitors also had a chance to decorate their own traditional Hungarian gingerbread cookies, or mézeskalács. 
Visitors making mézeskalács with a Hungarian artist. /CGTN Photo

Visitors making mézeskalács with a Hungarian artist. /CGTN Photo

This decorative snack is popular during Christmas time, and the process of decorating the cookies is something that brings friends and family together — much like dumplings during Spring Festival. 
"I want my children to experience different cultures and learn about their tradition," one visitor said. 
"Events such as this one give us just that — an opportunity for people to interact and learn about our respective cultures and customs".
Nagy Ildikó, cultural officer at the Beijing Hungarian Cultural Institute said the goal of the event is not only to share the Hungarian cultural heritage with visitors, but also to provide an opportunity for families to get together.
"Our purpose is to make them get together and spend valuable times together not just during Christmas time, but all around the year," she said.
Weekly events will be taking place both at the Institute and Minzu Hotel from November 20 to December 16, and everyone is invited to join in the festive spirit.