On Thursday, February 20, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Beck Rooms A-C at the Walsh Library, the Slavic Club, will be celebrating Maslenitsa, Russian Mardi Gras, by preparing traditional Russian bliny (crepes) with different fillings, and serving them with other treats, and Russian tea. The feast will be followed by different Russian games and dances, and a lecture about this popular Russian tradition will presented by Professor Liliya Brammer.
The annual tradition of Maslenitsa dates back to pagan times, when Russian folk would bid farewell to winter and welcome spring. As with many ancient holidays, Maslenitsa has a dual ancestry: pagan and Christian. It is an Eastern Slavic religious and folk holiday, celebrated during the last week before Great Lent, that is, the eighth week before Eastern Orthodox Pascha (Easter).
During the week of Maslenitsa, meat is forbidden to Orthodox Christians, and it is the last week during which eggs, milk, cheese and other dairy products are permitted, leading to its name of "Cheese-fare week" (Russian: сыропустная неделя) or "Crepe week." The most characteristic food of Maslenitsa are the bliny, thin pancakes or crepes, made from rich foods such as butter, eggs, and milk. During pagan times, the round shape and golden color signified praise to the Sun because of the pancakes' resemblance to it.
The name of this holiday, Maslenitsa (derived from maslo, which means butter or oil in Russian) owes its existence to the tradition of baking pancakes (or blini, in Russian). They are essential to the celebration of Maslenitsa. Hot, round, and golden, pancakes, symbolize the sun's grace and might, helping to warm up the frozen earth.
These pancakes are served with caviar, mushrooms, jam, sour cream, and of course, lots of butter. Maslenitsa is also time for partying, playing different games and good time before the Great Lent.
Everyone is welcome to attend and participate in this fun event!