Pancake Week or Maslenitsa
On March 7th, 2016 in Russia starts the so-called Russian Pancake Week, or Maslenitsa. It is a traditional Slavic holiday which is usually celebrated before the Lent. This holiday marks the beginning of Spring. Traditionally during this week people have fun, take part in the celebrations, play traditional games and on the last day the straw figure of winter is burnt down.
The dates for Maslenitsa change every year depending on the date of Easter. This year it will last until 13 March.
In St Petersburg in many places during this week, you will be able to participate in the celebrations.
On the Yelagin Island on 12-13, March there will be a chance not only to taste pancakes, but also to take part in the traditional games. There is also going to be a market of crafts, where potters, smiths and artists from all over Russia will show their best works. Of course, in the end there will be the traditional burning of the straw figure.
In the Moscow square there will be a real performance imitating the traditional 19th century festival, including a masquerade, buffoons and hand organs.
Traditionally during this week people eat pancakes, which symbolize the sun. In St Petersburg, there are many places where you can try the best pancakes!
The most famous one is probably the chain restaurant called “Теремок” (“Teremok”). This chain is on the list of the best fast food restaurants in Russia. The pancakes are not really expensive (about $1.50 for a simple one). You can easily find these restaurants in the center of St Petersburg; one of them is right on the Nevsky prospect.
Another famous pancake chain is “Чайная ложка” (“Chaynaya lozhka” or “Tea spoon”). It takes only a couple of minutes to cook a pancake, and this café also offers 16 different kinds of tea, for tea is the best drink to go with a pancake! There are a few “Чайная ложка” cafes in the city, including some right in the center of the city!
So if you happen to be this week in St Petersburg do not miss a chance to experience one of the Russian traditions, which is probably the most fun!