Maslenitsa is an ancient Slavic holiday that was imbibed by the Russian culture from heathenism. For centuries the Russian Maslenitsa has obtained a title of a big folk festival that is celebrated across the board. In the Russian culture this festival represents a farewell to the cold, severe winter, and a greeting to the warm and sunny spring. If you still don’t know what to do on during this festival, this article is for you.
The celebration is carried out in the end of February – beginning of March. It has particular symbolism, since February is the last winter month in Russia. The Russian Maslenitsa is a many-sided event combining lots of different traditions that are aimed to hunt away the winter and wake the spring up. People welcome the spring with songs, traditional dances, games, snow-fights, and other fun activities. One of them is burning a chuchelo (the Russian for ’a scarecrow’) – a representation of the leaving winter. When the burning is done the main fun comes into play: accompanied by happy Russian songs and music the people start to compete in jumping across the fire. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
It’s not a secret that Maslenitsa’s number one treat is Russian pancakes, or blinis. The blinis are cooked in every family during the whole week starting on Monday. The choice of the treat was not occasional. The tradition of making blinis has come from ancient pagan times, when people were calling for Yarilo, the god of the Sun, to chase the frosts away. The round-shape golden blinis were taken as the symbol of Yarilo. Today every housewife has her own blinis recipe but the way they are served is the same: traditional blinis toppings are butter, sour cream, or honey.
Maslenitsa in Russia can become a great cultural experience for you if you’re visiting St. Petersburg during the Maslenitsa. It is celebrated all around the country and our city is not an exception. Maslenitsa 2017 starts on February 20 with the main celebration on the weekend – February 25-26. There’s plenty of places that organize public activities for Maslenitsa. One of them is the Shuvalovka village, located in 50-minutes drive from the downtown. It is a big entertaining complex that imitates an old Russian village.
The celebration starts at 12.00 p.m. on February 26 (Sunday). The festival program includes little theatrical shows, snow-fights, different contests and competitions. The main highlight of the day will be the burning of the chuchelo at 2.00 p.m. During the whole day you can treat yourself with blinis and other traditional Russian food. Moreover, you will be able to participate in workshops of cooking blinis, wood carving, embroidery, making clay toys, and many other.
The address of the Shuvalovka village is 111 Sankt-Peterburgskoye highway. To get to the complex you can take a taxi or public transport: shuttle buses 424, 424А, 300, 401, 401А that run from the Avtovo metro station, or bus 404 from the Baltiyskaya metro station.