Merry parting with winter, illuminated by the joyful expectation of close warmth, spring rebirth of nature, the Russian people celebrated the celebration of Maslenitsa.
It is possible to call with confidence Maslenitsa the most cheerful, national and nourishing holiday lasting already a week.
Maslenitsa is the oldest Russian folk festival, which has passed now from pre-Christian times, preserved after the baptism of Russia. Maslenitsa was adopted by the Church as its own religious holiday, called Cheese week. However, this did not change the essence of Maslenitsa. Maslenitsa falls on the week ahead of lent. For this reason, at this time people rested before a heavy and long lent. Maslenitsa has always been celebrated with very abundant feasts. During the celebration of Maslenitsa it was customary to eat a lot. It was believed people that those who Shrove Tuesday will meet in sadness, boredom and spend the rest of the year following the end of winter. The irresistible Maslenitsa eating of all kinds of dishes and fun was a harbinger of well-being and success in home and business endeavors. Pancakes, a necessary «satellite» pancake week, symbolized the sun. Time passed, life changed, with the Baptism of Russia there were new holidays, but Maslenitsa continued to be celebrated. Maslenitsa was greeted with the same irrepressible joy as in the ancient Slavic centuries.
Mardi Gras is not one day of celebration. This is a week-long ritual holiday with round dances, dances, songs, merrymaking. An important element was the burning of the rag effigy of Winter.
Farewell to Maslenitsa ended on the first day of the great Orthodox lent «Clean Monday,» which is considered the day of purification from sins. Be sure to Clean Monday all residents washed in the bath, washed dishes and cleaned utensils.
Any of the days of the pancake week has its own meaning and name, talking about how to act on this day. Shrovetide week is usually not only pancakes, trips to visit and gatherings in the restaurant, and right on the street. First of all, the duty of every Russian-Slav was to help drive away the cold winter and cold to awaken nature from winter sleep. All the traditions of carnival and it was always directed.
In some places in Russia, starting with the Saturday before pancake week celebrated the «minor fitting». This event took place as follows: the children ran in small groups through the village and all collected sandals, and then met returning from the city or from the market with the following question: «are you Taking Shrovetide?»but those who answered «No», that joke was beaten with sandals.
And on Sunday before Maslenitsa went on a visit to neighbors, friends, relatives, and also called on a visit. During the whole pancake week it was impossible to eat meat at all. And for this reason, the last Sunday on the eve of pancake week, called simply and unpretentiously — «meat Sunday».. This Sunday, the aunts went to call the sons-in-law «to finish the meat».
Monday is the» meeting » of Maslenitsa. This Monday rolled ice slides. It was believed that the further the sled roll, and the louder the laughter during the ride, the better and greater the harvest . There was a custom to better this year higher grew the plants, it was necessary to swing on the swings, and the higher, the better.
Tuesday is a «win». And it is on this day that fun games begin, for jokes and fun treat pancakes.
Wednesday was called»gourmet.» The name speaks for itself. In this day the women follow the custom: «What is in the oven — all on the table swords!»The main treat was pancakes.