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Russian Festivals

    Maslyanitsa meaning "butter" in Russian is a Russian traditional carnival. It is celebrated in the Spring just before Lent.

    During this week people cook pancakes served with honey, caviar, fresh cream and butter. It means that many different foods, including butter, will be eaten before the time when Lent comes.

    Pancake week is divided into three parts, the meeting of Maslyanitsa on Monday, the high point of the celebration, on Thursday, and the last day, the good-bye day, which comes on Sunday morning.

    People wear funny masks and costumes. There is a festival with good food. People used to burn a big man of straw or a dummy as a way of saying goodbye to the winter.

    They sang songs and danced around the dummy or man, and at the end of the festival they used to burn it. The larger and hotter the bon-fire appeared, the longer and warmer the coming summer was supposed to be.

    The traditional dish is a big round hot pan-cake, with butter which in Russian means maslo hence the name of the day. Pancakes symbolize the sun. The more butter or honey, caviar, other delicious things, which was put on the pancake, the hotter the sun was expected to be in the coming summer.

    Nowadays, it is celebrated at the end of February, as a merry festival with dances, songs, national costumes, attractions for children, hot tea and pancakes served outdoors.

    This day stems from the Pagan tradition of making blini pancakes to honor the coming of spring, blini represents the sun. Each spring, there are festivals in the major cities and towns to celebrate the end of winter.

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