During seven long weeks after the holiday people will have to rid themselves of worldly sins, which means no fun, no dances and no laughing. To this day, people believe that if they don’t celebrate Maslenitsa the proper way they would live in misery for the rest of the year. It is celebrated during the last week before Lent—that is, the seventh week before Easter.
During Pancake week, meat is already forbidden to Orthodox Christians, making it a &quot;meat-fast week&quot;. During Lent, meat, fish, dairy products and eggs are forbidden. Furthermore, Lent also excludes parties, secular music, dancing and other distractions from the spiritual life. Thus, Pancake week represents the last chance to partake of dairy products and those social activities that are not appropriate during the more prayerful, sober and introspective Lenten season.
The most characteristic element of Pancake week in Russian tradition is Russian pancakes. Round and golden, they are made from the rich foods still allowed by the Orthodox tradition: butter, eggs, and milk.
During Pancake week all provinces and cities of Russia, including Moscow and St. Petersburg, organize masquerades, snowball fights, sledding, riding on swings and plenty of sleigh rides.
In some regions, each day of this week had its traditional activity: one day for sleigh-riding, another for the sons-in-law to visit their parents-in-law, another day for visiting the godparents.
The mascot of the celebration is usually a brightly dressed straw effigy of Lady Maslenitsa. As the culmination of the celebration, on Sunday evening, Lady Maslenitsa is stripped of her finery and put to the flames of a bonfire. Any remaining pancakes are also thrown on the fire, and Lady Maslenitsa's ashes are buried in snow. Cheerful open-air merrymaking, concerts, and prize drawing are held in the city squares.
Welcome to Maslenitsa! <ul><li>There is no other holiday in Russia that would be as fun and wild as Maslenitsa (also known as Butter Week, Pancake Week and Shrovetide). </li></ul>
In ancient times Pancake week was connected with the day of spring solstice. That was the holiday of winter end and spring beginning.
<ul><li>After Russia embraced Christianity the holiday was timed to the beginning of Lent. </li></ul>