Maslenitsa, the Pancake week in Russia
One of the most cheerful holidays in Russia, Maslenitsa, is known from pre-Christian times. It is a traditional holiday associated with sending off the winter and welcoming the spring, and it is celebrated during the week preceding the Lent.
Maslenitsa, the straw-stuffed figure of winter, is done on Monday. It is usually put onto snow-covered slope where people would do sledding and dancing. A week later, on the last day of the festivities the figure of Maslenitsa is being burned, farewell party to winter.
Blini, round yellow pancakes, as hot as the spring sun, are being baked for the whole week. With different fillings, hot and tasty, you can always find the recipe you will be trying for the first time in your life. Selling all kind of food tents appear everywhere, you just stroll and choose.
The streets are full of people in carnival costumes and masks, playing instruments, dancing and singing. They were called skomorokh in the past, traveling actors. Walking on Tverskaya street or around Kremlin you would be tempted to make photos with these colorful artists.
Some of the characters should look really frightful, as they are the ones who scare and banish winter and invite spring and fertility. In the old times they could visit homes of the neighbours and do impromptu concerts. Nowadays it is all organized for public in the parks and squares where you could come and see the shows.
Maslenitsa festivities are shown in the opera «Snegurochka» composed by Rimskiy-Korsakov. This is a unique chance to experience the atmosphere of this holiday as a spectator in the theatre all the year round.