Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Russia - Amur - Maslenitsa
Festival of Maslenitsa in Blagoveshchensk, Amur Oblast, Russia.
Sent by Olga from Amur, Russia.
This is from Wikipedia : Maslenitsa (Russian: Ма́сленица, Ukrainian: Масниця, also known as Butter Week, Pancake week or Cheesefare Week, is a Russian and Ukrainian religious and folk holiday. It is celebrated during the last week before Great Lent—that is, the seventh week before Pascha (Easter). Maslenitsa corresponds to the Western Christian Carnival, except that Orthodox Lent begins on a Monday instead of a Wednesday. The Orthodox date of Easter can differ greatly from the Western Christian date. In 2008, for example, Maslenitsa was celebrated from March 2 to March 8.
Maslenitsa has a dual ancestry: pagan and Christian. In Slavic mythology, Maslenitsa is a sun festival, celebrating the imminent end of the winter.
On the Christian side, Maslenitsa is the last week before the onset of Great Lent. During Maslenitsa week, meat is already forbidden to Orthodox Christians, making it a myasopustnaya nedelya (Russian: мясопустная неделя, English "meat-empty week" or "meat-fast week"). It is the last week during which milk, cheese and other dairy products are permitted, leading to its other name of "Cheese-fare week" or 'Pancake week. During Lent, meat, fish, dairy products and eggs are forbidden. Furthermore, Lent also excludes parties, secular music, dancing and other distractions from the spiritual life. Thus, Maslenitsa represents the last chance to partake of dairy products and those social activities that are not appropriate during the more prayerful, sober and introspective Lenten season.