“Maslenitsa” is one of the most favourite folk traditions that is celebrated in Russia. Maslenitsa festival dates back to the ancient times. Originally it began as a pagan ritual. However, nowadays it has perfectly blended into the Russian Orthodox religion and is usually celebrated during the last week before Great Lent. Maslenitsa marks the end of cold Russian winter and it is also a way to greet spring that brings liveliness into nature and warmth of the sun. Maslenitsa is the time for feasting and celebrating.
The most important attribute of Maslenitsa is a pancake (Russian: blini) as it is light warm and round and therefore represents the sun that will become brighter and brighter as the spring develops. The name of the festival derives from the Russian word for butter – “maslo” because traditionally pancakes in Russia are topped with a little bit of butter for nutrition purposes. Pancakes are usually given to family and friends during the Maslenitsa week. Depending on personal preferences, they can also be topped with caviar, jam and sour cream.
This year the Maslenitsa week will take place between the 20th and 26th of February with the most entertaining celebrations happening on Sunday the 26th in almost all major Russian cities. The most popular things to do on Maslenitsa – pancake tasting, troika rides, sledding, street performances, singing, dancing and fist fighting. Plus bonfires will be lit and a straw personification of Maslenitsa may be burned during the festivities in order to say goodbye to winter.
If you want to see how Maslenitsa is celebrated in London, you are welcome to the Trafalgar Square on the 26th of February. You are guaranteed good Russian folk music, sampling of traditional Russian cuisine and of course plenty of pancakes. You will also have a chance to shop around the Maslenitsa market for original Russian crafts and souvenirs.
For more information, please contact Go Russia.