On Monday the 16th in Russia starts one of the most traditional, exciting – and delicious weeks: Maslenitsa, when everybody is bound to eat pancakes (or blinys).
Maslenitsa is not fixed in the calendar and the date changes every year. It is always the eighth week before Russian Orthodox Easter, the date of which can vary greatly from Catholic Easter. It is the last week before Lent. In old Slavic traditions the holiday symbolized the end of winter, and the pancake, because of its round shape and golden color, symbolized the sun.
During the week a lot of winter games and sporting competitions will take place – each finishing with a pancake feast, and Sunday was the culmination, when Winter (a figure made of straw) was burnt, meaning that winter was over and now it was time for Spring to come.
Why is there such a feast as Maslenitsa? During Lent dairy products, meat, and lots of other foods are not allowed, that is why people feast during Maslenitsa in celebration.
Maslenitsa is still celebrated and very popular in Russia even now. During the Soviet Union when religious holidays were not allowed people still cooked pancakes for Maslenitsa to enjoy the delicious taste and different fillings. Today winter games are organized in every city of Russia (in St Petersburg this year will be a celebration near Peter and Paul Fortress) and everyone can participate.
How about a delicious pancake with caviar? Welcome to Russia and enjoy.
You can experience traditional Russian pancakes as part of our St Petersburg tours