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Pass the Pancakes! Russians Celebrate Maslenitsa!

9. February 2010 by Michelle 0 Comments

Celebrate Maslenitsa with Russian pancakes!

Like many Russian holidays, Maslenitsa week has multiple meanings, with both pagan and Christian ancestry. In Slavic mythology, Maslenitsa is a sun festival, ushering out the blistering winter and welcoming the return of spring. It also holds a religious meaning. With the upcoming fast for Lent, this week is the time for everyone to feast and indulge, mostly on blinis, which are Russian pancakes.


Pancakes are a symbol of the sun, since they are round, golden, and warm. They can be served plain, or covered with butter, sour cream, caviar, mushrooms, and jam. All week long everyone feasts on pancakes, sharing them with family and friends. They are easy to make and it’s the perfect way to use up all the dairy and eggs that are forbidden during Lent.


This feasting festival also includes many concerts and performances, along with sleigh rides and carousels. Russians also participate in group fist fights and storming of a snow fort to commemorate their strong military history.


In some regions, a large doll named Lady Maslenitsa is created from straw and dressed in a festive costume. She is paraded around the streets until the last day of the festival. On Sunday evening, Lady Maslenitsa is stripped of her fine clothing and tossed into a bonfire, signaling the end of winter.


Lady Maslenitsa