Maslenitza is a religious festival celebrated in Russia, as in other Slavic countries such as Ukraine and Belarus. This celebration takes place during the last week of the period that gives way to Lent. It is considered the oldest festival in Russia (2nd century), that's why it has taken center stage in our post today, to understand and live it when you come to visit our beloved Russia.
What is celebrated during the Maslenitza?
As in most mythologies, the celebrations of their communities are related to climate and agriculture. The origin of the Maslenitza does not escape from this reality. According to Slavic mythology, it is a date in which God Veles is thanked for the summer and the end of the northern winter. That's why it was considered a pagan date. However, over time this date was adopted within the Christian calendar, known as "The Week of Butter". The center of the celebration for Christians is forgiveness and family unity.
How is Maslenitza celebrated today?
During this date the consumption of meat is prohibited but the consumption of dairy products such as milk, butter and cheese is accepted and eggs are also allowed to be eaten. The typical food of this date is the blini, a kind of typical crepes that you will find around this time. The people who celebrate this festivity elaborate in a traditional way a scarecrow, which is taken out in procession. In these processions food is distributed to the poorest people, empanadas are usually made to distribute. The Sunday of forgiveness, which is the last day of the week of Maslenitza, visits old family and friends with whom they have quarreled and they are asked for forgiveness, it is the opportunity to make peace. Finally the scarecrow is burned in a bonfire.
Importance of Maslenitza in the Russian community
The Maslenitza is considered a religious holiday so it stopped having a degree of officiality in the Russian calendar after the Soviet Union. However, people continued to maintain the tradition of meeting with family and friends but without giving it the religious meaning of the date. After the Perestroica, the Maslenitza is once again considered an official date for the Russians; however, some of their traditions are not preserved as the prohibition of meat consumption. During its modern celebration shows, music and games are performed. This is a date that coincides with the carnival celebrations celebrated around the world.
Maslenitza. Russia says goodbye to winter.