Prepare your Tummies: Celebrating Maslenitsa 2017
21 February, 2017
The Russian holiday Maslenitsa (Масленица), also called ‘Butterweek’, is taking place from 20th-26th of February this year. If you have not heard of Maslenitsa before, you might want to think of it as the Eastern Slavic version of Carnival. Similarly to Carnival it marks the last week before the beginning of the great lent. While eating meat during this period is already prohibited, dairy products and eggs are still allowed – and should hence be eaten excessively! Originally, Maslenitsa goes back to an old pagan tradition of saying goodbye to the winter and welcoming spring. Typically Blini (Блины)- the Russian version of pancakes- are eaten en mass, because their round shape is supposed to symbolize the sun, which is invited after a long cold winter.
Traditionally, during Maslenitsa week every day is associated with certain traditions. Starting with the creation of the Maslenitsa doll on Monday, followed by days of eating, drinking and playing games (including countless opportunities for the young people to flirt), Maslenitsa always ends with the burning of the doll on Sunday. The burned ashes are then buried in the ground in the belief that doing so will ensure a good harvest in the year to come. However, people do not only hope for a good harvest, but they also wish for a fresh start to the new year. That is why on Sunday evening everyone asks each other for forgiveness and afterwards goes to visit the Banja (the Russian sauna) to have all of last year’s dirt and remorse washed away.
Experience Maslenitsa in St. Petersburg
Join our Liden & Denz students and staff for the Maslenitsa festival at Pavlovsk on Februrary 25th!
Click here for further information: https://lidenz.ru/events-st-petersburg/
Summer Garden: On February 22nd the Russian Museum welcomes its visitors to celebrate Maslenitsa in Summer Garden. Visitors can look forward to fun games and competitions, fighting knights, shooting ranges, tug of war and musical entertainment. Also, you can engage in the painting of balloons or the production of dolls, toys and masks.
Moskovskaya Ploschad: Visit the Maslenitsa Fair at Moskovskaya Ploschad to have a 19th century-like Maslenitsa experience, including fun games, lots of food and beautiful handicraft!
Yelagin Island: There are a number of events taking place on the Yelagin Island, such as a funfair with traditional folk music and an arts market.
This blog was brought to you by Ayla, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz.