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    Maslenitsa begins this week. Maslenitsa is a festival in Russia,
    Ukraine, Belarus. It’s  celebrated in many cities of the world where
    Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian communities live.  Come to have crepes.
    Next Sunday straw doll Mara will be burnt to signify the end of winter.
    (Russian: Мaсленица, Ukrainian: Масниця, Belarusian: Масленіца; also
    known as Butter Week, Crepe week, or Cheesefare Week) is an Eastern
    Slavic religious and folk holiday, celebrated during the last week
    before Great Lent, that is, the eighth week before Eastern Orthodox
    Pascha (Easter). Maslenitsa corresponds to the Western Christian
    Carnival, except that Orthodox Lent begins on a Monday instead of a
    Wednesday, and the Orthodox date of Easter can differ greatly from the
    Western Christian date.

    According to archeological evidence from
    2nd century A.D. Maslenitsa may be the oldest surviving Slavic
    holiday.[1] Maslenitsa has its origins in the pagan tradition. In Slavic
    mythology, Maslenitsa is a sun-festival, personified by the ancient god
    Volos,[1] and a celebration of the imminent end of the winter. In the
    Christian tradition, Maslenitsa is the last week before the onset of
    Great Lent.[2]
    During the week of Maslenitsa, meat is already
    forbidden to Orthodox Christians, and it is the last week during which
    eggs, milk, cheese and other dairy products are permitted, leading to
    its name of “Cheese-fare week” or “Crepe week”. The most characteristic
    food of Maslenitsa is bliny thin pancakes or crepes, made from the rich
    foods still allowed by the Orthodox tradition that week: butter, eggs
    and milk.
    Since Lent excludes parties, secular music, dancing and
    other distractions from spiritual life, Maslenitsa represents the last
    chance to take part in social activities that are not appropriate during
    the more prayerful, sober and introspective Lenten season.[1]
    some regions, each day of Maslenitsa had its traditional activity.
    Monday may be the welcoming of “Lady Maslenitsa”. The community builds
    the Maslenitsa effigy out of straw (из соломы), decorated with pieces of
    rags, and fixed to a pole formerly known as Kostroma. It is paraded
    around and the first pancakes may be made and offered to the poor. On
    Tuesday, young men might search for a fiancée to marry after Lent. On
    Wednesday sons-in-law may visit their mother-in-law who has prepared
    pancakes and invited other guests for a party. Thursday may be devoted
    to outdoor activities. People may take off work and spend the day
    sledding, ice skating, snowball fights and with sleigh rides. On Friday
    sons-in-law may invite their mothers-in-law for dinner. Saturday may be a
    gathering of a young wife with her sisters-in-law to work on a good




    Yes, today, Sunday, February 11, is Meatfare Sunday, the last day for eating meat and meat products until Pascha, though eggs and dairy products are permitted every day during the coming week. This limited fasting prepares each of us gradually for the more intense fasting of Great Lent.



    I will have to research if this Maslenitsa is celebrated in Volhynia region. It seems to be a Russian celebration. I wonder if it became popular after 1917, with state atheism?




    Maslenitsa is celebrated in Volyn. Announcement of celebration in Lutsk city http://www.volynpost.com/news/27184-u-lucku–narodni-guliannia-masliana

    Maslenitsa originated during in pre-Christian times.  Maslenitsa (Masnitsa or Maslyana in Ukrainian) is one most beloved traditional celebrations of Ukrainians. An article on the subject : http://mue.etnolog.org.ua/zmist/2007/53.pdf

    Modern Maslenitsa is associated with religious celebration. My guess it was not encouraged after 1917 and was more popular before 1917. Although, it was celebrated during Soviet era. I remember animated movie on Maslenitsa.

    Here are paintings of Maslenitsa celebrations many of which were painted in the 19th century

    Maslyana in Volyn




    @Sviatogor Thank you this information! You are a magical research wizard.  :D Thank you!





    I wonder if it became popular after 1917, with state atheism?

    Well I don’t know how it worked in the USSR, but state atheism didn’t ban holidays. They just removed religious symbolism. For example, Santa Claus (Saint Nicholas) became Grandpa Frost. :D



    They did discourage them though. Not only were the “secret police” apparatchiks reporting on who goes to church, but f.e. Christmas was a normal working day, while on Easter they’d have a very rare broadcast of a Western movie on TV (so you’d stay at home instead of going to church for the vigil).



    There were subbotniki and voskresniki in USSR. On Saturdays and Sundays people volunteered to do unpaid work. It was widespread de-facto obligatory work organised by organisations employing people, educational institutions and schools. This work was done each spring. There were occasions when people were doing unpaid work on Easter.

    Subbotnik and voskresnik (from Russian: суббо́та, IPA: [sʊˈbotə] for Saturday and воскресе́нье, IPA: [vəskrʲɪˈsʲenʲjɪ] for Sunday) were days of volunteer[citation needed] unpaid work on weekends following the October Revolution. Initially they were indeed volunteer, but gradually de facto obligatory upon announcement, as people quipped, “in a voluntary-compulsive way” (в добровольно-принудительном порядке).

    Thousands of clergy were jailed or executed in the 30s and 40s. Thousands of churches and cathedrals were exploded or used for warehouses and other purposes. Certain workers were ashamed to baptise their children taking them for baptism to other cities.

    USSR anti-religious campaign

    Persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union



    I haven’t found any event listings for Maslyana celebrations in Volyn for 2018. I did find the following information.

    У бібліотеці діти «Масляну святкували, люту зиму проводжали»

    У родинний вихідний «Із бібліотекою разом» дітям провели майстер-клас виробів із солоного тіста «Золотава зірка – Сонце»

    Захід пройшов у Волинській обласній бібліотеці для дітей в неділю. На майстер-класі діти виготовили сонечко із солоного тіста, як символ перемоги добра над злом, теплої весни над зимовими холодами, щастя і родинного достатку. 

    Стародавні слов’яни вірили, що разом з круглим, рум’яним млинцем вони з’їдають частинку тепла і могутності небесного світила.

    Масляна – одне з найдавніших слов’янських свят, яке бере свій початок ще з дохристиянських часів. Масляна символізувала прихід весни та пробудження природи. Древні слов’яни відзначали «проводи зими» та початок весни і весняного землеробства. В цей день вшановували Сонце, яке несло тепло і пробуджувало природу, тому й готували жертовний хліб, схожий на це небесне світило – млинець. Стародавні слов’яни вірили, що разом з круглим, рум’яним млинцем вони з’їдають частинку тепла і могутності небесного світила. На території Київської Русі млинці готувались в круглих глиняних пательнях із зубчатими краями й прокресленим по глині хрестом – знаком сонця. 


    Google translate:

    In the library, the children celebrated the Oilman, they escaped the fierce winter

    In the family weekend “With a library together” the children held a master class of products made from salty dough “Golden Star – Sun”

    The event was held at the Volyn Regional Children’s Library on Sunday. At the master class, children made a soup of salty dough, as a symbol of the victory of good over evil, a warm spring over the winter colds, happiness and family affluence.

    The ancient Slavs believed that, together with a round, rosy pancake, they were eating a piece of heat and power of the heavenly light.

    Maslyana is one of the oldest Slavic holidays, which dates back to pre-Christian times. Butterflies symbolized the arrival of spring and the awakening of nature. Ancient Slavs celebrated the “winters” and the beginning of spring and spring farming. On this day, the Sun was honored, which carried warmth and awakened nature, therefore preparing sacrificial bread, similar to this heavenly luminaire – a pancake. The ancient Slavs believed that, together with a round, rosy pancake, they were eating a piece of heat and power of the heavenly light. On the territory of Kievan Rus, pancakes were cooked in round pottery clay with toothed edges and crossed in clay with a cross – a sign of the sun.


    I also found this from 2015. Google translate. <span>:dizzy:</span>

    Syropuse Week, or the so-called “Broad Maslen”, began today. This is a week of preparation for the Great Lent. From pre-Christian times it was a holiday farewell to winter and greetings of spring. 

    This year, it begins on February 16 and lasts until February 22, and ends with the so-called “Forgiveness Sunday,” when everyone must forget about injustice and ask for forgiveness for everyone who has offended. 

    Masnitsa, Maslenitsa or from the Russian Maslyana, as well as many other ancient Ukrainian folk holidays, was included in the Christian calendar, but with an anchor for Easter, then, as before, Maslyana was celebrated on the eve of New Year’s Eve – the pagan New Year. It started with the first spring of the New Moon, which comes before the vernal equinox.

    During the oil week, they did not consume meat, but exclusively dairy products, and usually they honored cattle. The temple consecrated products of animal origin, in particular, butter, milk, cheese.

    Church language this week is called Syropuse. 

    As you know, the main dish for Maslenitsy is pancakes, which bake every day from Monday to Sunday. Pancakes are baked from rye and wheat flour, from various cereals – buckwheat, millet, oats, make them simple and with baking (with the addition of various products). To pancakes are served: butter, sour cream, honey, salted fish, herring, jam, jam.

    Maslyana is also known for national celebrations: it’s dancing, singing, skiing, slippers, sledding, and the construction of stuffed ones.

    Each day of the week has its own traditions. On Monday, they arrange a feast and do a straw doll. On Tuesday, girls are poppies of boys, and mother-in-law watches their daughters. On Wednesday, the mother-in-law of the mother-in-law meets the son-in-law, and on Friday they are waiting for a mother-in-law. And the son-in-law must invite her personally.

    On Sunday, the concerts are completed, confessed and asking each other for apologies. Then they go to the bath – the Greater Fast to meet must be cleansed and soul, and body.

    In western Ukraine, this period before the Easter fast is called Bastards (!?!?) and there is no tradition of baking pancakes.



    As Ukrainians celebrated the arrival of spring: the differences of the holiday Kolodyya and Oil January 23, 2018 Volyn In Ukraine, from ancient times, there was a holiday – Kolodiy.

     This was announced on January 23, 2018, by the Ukrainian News website . Every year, when winter is coming to an end, Maslyana is mentioned in Ukraine. But few people know that our ancestors from ancient times celebrated Kolodiy, who formed their own traditions, different from Oil. Ethnographers emphasize that in Ukraine since ancient times there was a holiday – Kolodiy, who has many unique traditions, and therefore Ukrainians should gradually move away from the customs of the Maslenaya celebration.

     Kolodiy – an ancient holiday not only wires of winter, but entertainment for married women. The whole week, while celebrating the Colodia, men had to unquestioningly obey the women and endure their “joyous antics.” In addition, only women could have drunk and have fun this week, and men could do it only with the permission of the fair sex. Young unmarried guys were considered the cause of violations of harmony and order in nature. Therefore, the guys who did not marry and did not find a couple during the year were jokingly punished by women of older age. The punishment was carried out in the following way: the boy clung to the foot of a booth made specifically for this rite, which he had to drag on for himself until he paid off for food for women. The most common tradition of oilseed celebration in Ukraine is pancake baking. However, according to ethnologists, this tradition is not characteristic of Ukraine, brought by the Soviet authorities. 

    The main treat at Kolodia holiday was not caviar pancakes, but dumplings with cheese and sour cream. This is an interesting explanation for it. Varenyky is a ritual dish that came to us from the times of Trypillian culture. Varenyk was for our ancestors a certain personification of the young Moon, which symbolized the woman’s origin. Since the symbol of the holiday was a shoe, there was a rite of “life of the Kolodka”. On Monday, Kolodka “was born”. Women met in the morning to “clap” in the backyard: they put on a table a small pillow or a stick – Kolodka; each woman alternately covered the log with pieces of canvas, then placed her again on the table. Such a rite meant that Kolodka was “born”. 

    Women drank liver and congratulated each other on “birth”. On Tuesday Kolodko was “baptized”; on Wednesday staged “baptism”; on Thursday, Kolodka “was dying”; on Friday Kolodko “hid”, and on Saturday – “mourned”. On Sunday, young women “spoke” Kolodka. Holiday Kolodyya – a unique holiday, which is celebrated only in Ukraine and Belarus. In addition to the winters of winter, it carries the traditions aimed at the continuation of the family, the creation of new families and the rooting of moral values, the revival of the ethnic group. 

    It is worth noting a few other differences: during the holiday Kolodia our ancestors did not organize fist battles, which were aggressive and often were dangerous to life, and also did not adhere to the tradition of burning scarecrows, as it does on Maslyana. 




    The magnitude of Maslenitsa celebration is larger in Russia.  Belarus also has a decent amount of celebrations. Probably in central and eastern Ukraine too.  About the places of celebration in Volyn need to be asked on local forums. The largest celebration will be next Sunday on the final day when effigy will be burnt.

    Celebration of Maslenitsa in Lutsk.  https://pravda.lutsk.ua/%D1%8F%D0%BA-%D1%83-%D0%BB%D1%83%D1%86%D1%8C%D0%BA%D1%83-%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%81%D0%BB%D1%8F%D0%BD%D1%83-%D1%81%D0%B2%D1%8F%D1%82%D0%BA%D1%83%D0%B2%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%B8-%D1%84%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%BE/



    @Sviatogor Yes, I am going to ask some of the Volyn people what happens with Maslenitsa this year.  It will be exciting to see what happens in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine next Sunday. Wish I was there to experience this! 

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