The Congress presented national Abkhazian games and films based on the WAC project “Amazara” on “Abkhazian song” and “Ancient Abkhazian armor” at the festival.
The fourth festival of Abkhazian culture “Apsny” was held in the best traditions of Abkhazian hospitality and cordiality in the very center of Moscow in the Hermitage Garden on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The purpose of the festival is to introduce guests to the traditional national culture and history of Abkhazia, as well as to show a modern picture of the country’s development.
The event was organized by members of the board of the Moscow Abkhazian Diaspora with the help of numerous volunteers from among Abkhazian students.
“Every year we hold a festival of Abkhazian culture in Moscow. 364 days a year we feel like guests of the Russian capital, and one day we ask Muscovites to be our guests, to feel the Abkhazian culture. We have many wonderful activities related to both ancient and modern culture of Abkhazia. In my opinion, in any festival the most important thing is to be open to each other, enjoy the holiday, enjoy the atmosphere,” said Beslan Agrba, Chairman of the Board of the Moscow Abkhazian Diaspora.
The Chairman of the Council of Elders of the Abkhaz-Abaza and Adyg (Circassian) Diaspora of Moscow, Yuri Agirbov, congratulated the Abkhazians on the opening of the festival.
“There are about 50 thousand Adygs and Circassians in Moscow. We sincerely and with great love treat the fraternal people of Abkhazia. It’s gratifying that on such a sunny day the festival unites us and allows to celebrate the long historical friendship with the Abkhazian people,” said Agirbov.
19 different venues were organized for festival guests. Each of them provided an opportunity to plunge into the atmosphere of the ancient Abkhazian ethnic group. For example, a stylized Abkhazian courtyard allowed festival guests to examine the attributes of local life, play musical instruments, and try national food. Films by Abkhazian directors were shown in the cinema. The WAC presented the films “Abkhazian Song” by Madina Argun and “Ancient Abkhazian Armor” by Daut Logua, made within the WAC project “Amazara”.
The intense program included master classes on Abkhazian national games, shooting the “Abkhazian bow”, and Abkhazian dances. In the lecture hall one could take lessons in the Abkhaz language and hear about the traditions and customs of the Abkhazians.
Kherson Simonia, a specialist in the WAC department for working with local branches, noted that in addition to the master class on folk games, WAC staff prepared applications for everyone who wanted to join the Congress.
“Today we took part in the Apsny festival, which was organized by our Moscow Diaspora. We conducted master classes on the games “Аимцакьачара” (Abkhazian folk ball game - ed.), “Акьыброу” (Abkhazian folk version of the peg game - ed.), “Амба” (a kind of hide and seek game - ed.), "Ахылпахас" (translated from Abkhaz as "catching a cap" - ed.). These are active games with elements of fighting for endurance and coordination. There was great interest in them. A lot of people wanted to watch and take part in the games of our ancestors. We have organized such a corner today in the Hermitage Garden. Traditionally, at the festival we provide the opportunity to become members of Congress; this year more than 40 people filled out forms,” said Simonia.
The Apsny festival is gaining popularity every time. Festival guests eagerly shared their impressions of the day.
“I couldn’t help but come to the festival, being a son of Abkhazia, but living far from my homeland. I invited my colleagues and my friends. I would like to introduce them to our culture. I am very pleased that many different platforms have been organized. We also liked the site from the WAC, where the guys invited us to play the folk games. I recommend that all those who could not attend the festival this year do so next year,” shared festival guest Emil Adleyba.
Our compatriot Zakhar Alania shared his impressions of the Abkhazian games, in which he took part for the first time.
“I live in Moscow and always attend the Abkhazian festival. Today I learned a lot of new things. I played Abkhazian games for the first time, I really liked it. The games are quite dynamic. My friends and I tried to remember the rules. I think we will play them often,” Alania said. In addition, festival visitors could try on the role of a guest at a traditional Abkhazian wedding, get acquainted with ancient customs and the “Aamsta Kyabze” teachings.
In addition, backgammon and chess tournaments were held on the sidelines of the festival. It was possible to listen to a lecture on Caucasian yoga by the adviser to the rector of the Adyg State University, master Zaur Janet.
“In Abkhazian culture there is a world-famous phenomenon - the phenomenon of longevity. Today I told my listeners about the great son of Abkhazia, the philosopher Murat Yagan. He is a great educator whose books have been published in many languages of the world. I translated his book into Russian. It’s called “The Science of Cosmic Delight,” and I presented it to my listeners today. This two-volume book reveals many secrets of human health and longevity,” said Janet.
Participants of the festival also managed to visit a book market, a pottery workshop and a blacksmith's shop, and go to an exhibition of paintings by contemporary Abkhazian artists. A pleasant surprise was the drawing of free trips from tour operators for those who want to relax in Abkhazia. National music and dance groups performed on the main stage the whole day.
Kristina Kirtbaya also shared her emotions from the event.
“Today my family and I came to the festival of Abkhazia in Moscow. We really liked the format of the festival. We generally try not to miss such events. My child is now dancing in the junior group of the “Amtsabz“ ensemble, and today he came to support his older colleagues. We were also pleased with the concert program and the exhibitions presented,” said Kirtbaya.
The Festival of Abkhazian Culture in Moscow is being held by the Moscow Abkhazian Diaspora for the fourth time. The festival is aimed at promoting traditional and modern Abkhazian culture outside of Abkhazia.