IMG_8640 St. Petersburg, Russia
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Krestovsky and Yelagin Islands
Maslenitsa (Мaсленица)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.
Maslenitsa may be the oldest surviving Slavic holiday. Maslenitsa has its origins in the pagan tradition. In Slavic mythology, Maslenitsa is a sun-festival, personified by the ancient god Volos, and a celebration of the imminent end of the winter.
During the maslenitsa meat is forbidden to Orthodox Christians, and the most characteristic food of Maslenitsa is bliny, thin pancakes or crepes.
Since Lent excludes parties, secular music, dancing and other distractions from spiritual life, Maslenitsa represents the last chance to take part in social activities.
During Soviet times, Maslenitsa, like other religious holidays, was not celebrated officially. As many Russians have returned to practicing Christianity, the tradition is still being revived.