Maslenitsa in Minsk
From 28 February to 1 March “Maslenitsa” is celebrated in Minsk. The people of Minsk say goodbye to winter and welcome the long awaited spring in the old tradition.
Maslenitsa is an old Slavic festival symbolizing the farewell to winter and the joyful expectation of spring. It is originally a pagan festival and not a Christian Orthodox one, but since the Christianization of the Rus it corresponds to the Christian festival cycle.
At this time, sleigh rides, dances, folk songs and bonfires are organized. The burning of the Maslenitsa doll, usually made of straw, is also part of the festivities.
Maslenitsa falls on the week before the beginning of the Orthodox Lent. The name, Maslo means “butter” in Russian, comes from the fact that during this week the Orthodox believers are already forbidden to eat meat, but the consumption of milk, dairy products, eggs and fish is still allowed.
Traditionally, blini (pancakes) are one of the main attributes of the festival. Round, yellow, and hot, they used to have a ritual meaning, as they were a symbol of the sun, which shines brighter again from the beginning of March and lengthens the days.
At the end of February, the square in front of the Minsk Komarovski Market, the largest market in the city, is transformed into a joyful fair. Fragrances of blini, melodies of national musical instruments, jugglers and many interesting activities are awaiting you.
Besides the “classical” blini with sour cream, caviar or honey, the guests of the festival can also try multicolored pancakes with exotic fillings: spicy, with shrimps, beetroot, with jam from fir cones and dandelions.
At the end of the festivities, the highlight of Maslenitsa follows, the burning of a Maslenitsa doll.
Come with us to Minsk and see all this with your own eyes!
You can learn more about customs and traditions in Belarus here.