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Pancakes and Parades for Maslenitsa

28. February 2011 by Michelle 0 Comments

From February 28th to March 6th, Russians will celebrate Maslenitsa, also called Pancake Week. While this holiday signifies the seasonal transition from winter to spring, it also serves as the feasting time before Lent, according to the Russian Orthodox Church.


“In our Church, the week before the Great Lent is called Cheese-Fare Week in translation from Greek. When Christianity came to Russia, Russian people did not know about cheese or butter. The name Maslenitsa was created to explain what can be eaten during these days because the word Maslenitsa is derived from the Russian word for butter. During the week before the Great Lent, people may eat dairy products but are not allowed to eat meat,” says Father Philipp Riabykh, a representative of the Moscow Patriarchate.


According to The Voice of Russia, 83% of Russian women will be making pancakes this week. Have you watched the video of hot Russian brides making pancakes for Maslenitsa?


Traditional rituals are also observed each day of the week. Monday is when Lady Maslenitsa, a giant scarecrow representing winter, is paraded around the streets and delicious pancake making begins. Tuesday is when all types of games are played. Wednesday is Lacomka, Sweets Day, so pancakes are loaded with sugary toppings or swapped for other confectionary treats.


Thursday becomes more physical as men battle each other in friendly fist fights and snowball wars. Friday is Mother-in-Law Pancake Day, or Tesshiny Bliny, as the son-in-law cooks pancakes for his wife’s mom. Then, on Saturday, the daughter-in-law will prepare pancakes for her husband’s family.


The final day of Maslenitsa, Sunday, is called Forgiveness Day. To make a fresh start for the new season and Lent, everyone asks each other for forgiveness. Then they burn Lady Maslenitsa during a street festival to officially usher in spring.