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Russian Holiday: Maslenitsa – Russian Pancake Week 2019 | Maslenitsa Festival 2019 | масленица

Russian Holiday: Maslenitsa – Russian Pancake Week 2019 | Maslenitsa Festival 2019 | масленица


Masleniza is all about sun, fun, and games. It’s the Russian celebration to drive out
the long, cold winter and welcome the warmth of spring. Traditional… …sporty… …and strange. The customs are ancient; the prizes, modern. Like an electric kettle. “Tree climbing is traditional. This is my tenth time. Even if I’d much rather win a television or
a microwave instead of a kettle.” “One, two, three, GO!” “This is a real cock fight. It’s about life and death..” “Let’s see, which one of us girls is the
coolest.” Masleniza is celebrated all over Russia. The festivities are particularly beautiful
in Nikola-Leniwetz, a three and a half hour drive from Moscow. Nikola-Leniwetz is a nature park featuring
giant wooden sculptures in the middle of a Russian birch forest. It’s a magical place for anyyone who wants
to get away from the bustle of the Russian capital and take in the allure of this “monumental
setting” featuring art outside the gallery. That’s rare in Russia, even though there’s
plenty of space for it. “We live in a very big country, with so
much space that everyone could create art on a grand scale. I want to inspire other artists with my work.” While we’re looking at a samovar — we’ll
return to Masleniza. An electric kettle has no place here. The water is boiled over hot coals to serve
tea with blinis, the main Masleniza dish. Also known as blintzes, pancakes or crepes,
good blinis need butter — or maslo in Russian. That’s the origin of the word Masleniza — the
Butter Celebration. “Everyone needs to eat the blinis with butter. You’re supposed to bribe your departed ancestors,
so they don’t come back and cause mischief! We only want good things to happen so we eat
lots of blinis and butter. “I make up to six hundred blinis a day. It’s no problem. The fillings are different — cream cheese,
meat, chicken, or mushrooms. I like them best with cottage cheese” The celebrations are well underway. We’re moving towards the high-point of the
whole WEEK — after which Russian Orthodox Christians fast until Easter. An enormous bonfire marks the climax of the
event. Wooden pallets have been used to build what’s
called the bastille. Like all the other sculptures here, it’s a
work of Nikolaj Polisski. Burning the tower is meant to bring freedom
and happiness. “I’m curious about how it’s going to burn! Nobody knows what’s going to happen to my
bastille today, because the wind is stronger than usual. No one knows how it will turn out.” The burning bastillie tower is a great picture
for some. For others, it’s a moment of inspiration .. or meditation. The event closes with a surprise that tops
everything that’s gone before it. Russia’s mighty winter is now defeated and
spring can come! Soon other celebrations will take place in
Nikola-Leniwetz – in a greener setting.

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