This week the Russians celebrate Maslenitsa, a Russian holiday that marks the last week before the Great Lent. One of the symbols of Maslenitsa is the Russian blin, a thin pancake. Blini can be eaten in many different ways and served with many different fillings.
The first day of Maslenitsa is called ‘Vstrecha’ (Meeting). Today everyone starts working on their blini recipes. A straw scarecrow representing Lady Maslenitsa (and symbolising winter) is installed out on the street.
The second day of Maslenitsa is also known as Zaigrysh (Day of Games). On this day young folks would come out on the streets to sledge, skate and play games, whilst making new acquaintances. And of course they ate blini.
The third day of Maslenitsa (today!) is known as Lakomka (Sweet Tooth). On this day mothers-in-law used to invite their sons-in-law over for pancakes. They would also invited various relatives for a big and loud company at the table. Sons-in-law were expected to praise their wives’ mothers by serenading and thanking them, in exchange for their tasty pancakes and other delicious food.
Maslenitsa is related to similar celebrations around the world (Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday). How did you celebrate? Feel free to reply with photos from your pre-Lent celebrations!