Maslenitsa the Pagan Russian Sun Festival

Maslenitsa, the Amazing Russian Sun Festival – a traditional celebration of the end of harsh winter winds and the start of warm spring. The beautiful celebration that lasts for a whole week. This is the last week before Great Lent and sometimes it is called a “pancake week”, because during this time everyone has to cook and eat pancakes because pancakes are round and yellow, just like the sun, so eat it! During Maslenitsa every single day there is a special activity so for example, on Tuesday different games are held in the open air. Everyone can take part in these activities so on Wednesday you have to visit your mother-in-law and stuff yourself by eating pancakes at her place. On Thursday you can go sled-riding. On Sunday a straw effigy symbolizing winter is burnt away and warmer better times are coming back. More info: Maslenitsa

Maslenitsa is a traditional that actually has its origins in both pagan and Christian traditions. In Slavic mythology, Maslenitsa is a celebration of the imminent end of the winter, the end then Morana dies so among other Slavs that is also a tradition of “Burning of Morena/Marzanna”.

On the Christian perspective, Maslenitsa is the last week before the onset of Great Lent. So during the week of traditional Maslenitsa, meat is already forbidden to Orthodox Christians, and it is the last week during which milk, cheese and other dairy products are permitted, leading to its name of “Cheese-fare week”

Many countries with a significant number of Russian immigrants consider Maslenitsa a suitable occasion to celebrate Russian culture, although the celebrations are usually reduced to one day and may not coincide with the exact date of the religious celebrations.

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