Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Celebrating Maslenitsa

Maslenitsa figure in Moscow visible for blocks away.

The election behind us and Women’s Day festivities not until Saturday, Russia is in the midst of maslenitsa, a week-long celebration rooted in paganism but focused on the end of winter and welcoming the sun. Maslenitsa comes from maslo, the Russian word for butter and reflects the interest in food during this holiday. Blini, the Russian version of the crepe, is the traditional food because of being round, shaped like the sun.

In villages, small fires on the street are part of the celebration as is setting afire the stuffed effigy of a village woman. The photo above, I'm guessing represents that village woman, but no chance that she'll be burned.

In the Russian movie, The Barber of Siberia, a maslenitsa celebration set in old Moscow, as I recall, provides a look at many of the traditions.


John from Kansas said...

Hurry spring! Thanks for the post. Did you see any Maslenitsa celebrations in Rostov? If you venture to the EnglishRussia Forum's "Russian Cities" section, there are some photos of the town of Sengiley in the Volga region. According to mihai77, Sengiley is also known as the pancake capital.

Eileen said...

Hey John, THANK YOU for nudging me again about the Russian Cities section at English Russia. I tried one more time to get joined up and signed in and it worked! Very good photos of Rostov there, as you had mentioned earlier. Thanks much for sharing. Also a great photo of Sengiley, as I recall - with the hugest blini ever. Thanks much! And. . .to answer your question about maslenitsa celebrations - you know, I didn't see any little fires burning in streets (guess that's more in rural areas, certainly not here in this neighborhood!) but one sister at church did bring some meat-filled blini and eventually I understood that it was for the holiday. Say, I'm wondering how it is that you have such an interest in things *Russia*? =)

John from Kansas said...

(Please see comment #3 in "Tram Troubles")