On 2 March 2018, the Red Stone China Culture Centre hosted a regular meeting of the SCO Women's Club chaired by the SCO Secretary-General's wife Zamira Asimova, which was timed to coincide with International Women's Day and the Lantern Festival.
The event was attended by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkmenistan Chinar Rustamova, Deputy Head of the Club, SCO Deputy Secretary-General's wife Mrs Gu Ping, wife of the Ambassador of Kazakhstan Aliya Nurysheva, wife of the Ambassador of Pakistan Sunghee Alias Sonia SONG, wife of the Ambassador of Tajikistan Nargis Narzullaeva, wife of the Ambassador of Uzbekistan Fayoza Saidova, wife of the Ambassador of Belarus Elena Rudaya, wife of the Ambassador of Mongolia Tsendsuren Manj, wife of the Ambassador of Azerbaijan Yegana Zeinally, as well as representatives of women's organisations of Beijing and the SCO Secretariat.
"In fact, International Women's Day lasts not one but 365 days a year, because you, our dear women (wives, sisters and friends), are our happiness, our holiday and the flowers of our life," said SCO Deputy Secretary-General, Ambassador Wang Kaiwen, at the opening of the SCO Women's Club meeting, and wished all participants good health, more smiles and laughter, and eternal youth.
The packed programme began with charming masters of the Chinese tea ceremony, who gracefully made the highest grade Chinese Puer tea and introduced guests to the subtleties of this ancient art, which in the past was known only to the imperial family. The tea ceremony was accompanied by traditional Chinese music, masterly performed on the chiba, a bamboo flute, and the xun, a wind instrument made of burnt clay. Famous Chinese singer Tian Bao concluded the concert programme.
At the end of the event, the female guests took part in a workshop on cooking the traditional holiday dessert, yuanxiao — balls of glutinous rice with a sweet filling of red bean paste — after which they treated everyone with their cooking.
The holiday celebration was held in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere that left guests with vivid and unforgettable impressions.
The Red Stone Culture and Exhibition Centre is a partner organisation that provides a platform for meetings of members of the SCO Women's Club, as well as cultural exchanges and workshops on traditional Chinese applied art
Yuan Xiao Jie is the Chinese Lantern Festival, which is celebrated on the 15th day of the 1st month of the lunar calendar in China and marks the end of the Spring Festival or the traditional New Year. The tradition of lighting colourful street lights on this day has ancient origins. According to legend, a representative of the Western Han Dynasty named Wendi was proclaimed emperor on this day. In honour of this, he ordered red lights hung everywhere, which eventually developed into a tradition. In 104 BC, the lantern festival became a public holiday. On this day, people eat "tangyuan" in the form of balls or ordinary spice cookies from rice flour with sweet stuffing. As a filling, hawthorn berries, dates, beans, sesame, chocolate, etc. can be used.