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City Celebrates Maslenitsa

Published: February 26, 2014 (Issue # 1799)



  • Chicken, honey, caviar...when it comes to blini fillings, the options are limited by only your imagination!
    Photo: Sergei Kukota / Flickr

Maslenitsa, the weeklong celebration of Shrovetide leading up to the start of Lent in the Eastern Orthodox calendar, began this year on Feb. 24 and will last until Sunday, Mar. 2. Numerous events are scheduled throughout the city, culminating in the traditional burning of straw-filled effigies on Sunday.

Traditionally blini, which symbolize the sun, are cooked and eaten throughout the week to mark the end of winter.

Related: Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring

This year, the fourth International Festival of Traditional Culture, which is dedicated to Maslenitsa, will be held on Yelagin Island at the Kirov Central Park of Culture on Mar. 1 and 2. The program is expected to last from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will feature performances by folk music groups from different Russian cities and offer a traditional crafts fair.

The Peterhof Museum Reserve in the suburb of Petrodvorets will hold its own Maslenitsa celebrations on that towns Palace Square beginning at 1 p.m. on Mar. 1. The lineup includes theater performances, interactive games, contests, fireworks and, of course, pancakes.

The Babushkina Park of Culture will host celebrations on Mar. 1 and 2 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., with a fire show and the launching of Chinese paper lanterns from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Mar. 2.

As Maslenitsa is particularly beloved by Russia children, many of the citys museums and parks have created thematic festival programs for them.

Skazkin Dom (Fairy Tale House), one of St. Petersburgs childrens museums, is organizing daily programs throughout the festival week. A similar program is being held for schoolchildren on Yelagin Island at the Kirov Central Park of Culture which will introduce the history of the celebration every day at 10 a.m.

Interactive excursions are being held all week long at the Benua Family Museum, focusing on the traditional celebrations of the holiday among the Russian nobility. Excursions are offered daily, starting at 11 a.m. The museum will also host an exhibition of childrens drawings dedicated to Maslenitsa.

The Mariinsky Theater is also getting in on the act with a weeklong celebration of the holiday with a focus on drumming. Percussion for Maslenitsa includes master classes, jazz performances and an 80-minute tour around the world through rhythm.

One of the largest celebrations of Maslenitsa in Russia is held in the nearby city of Pskov. Located about 300 kilometers south of St. Petersburg, Pskov is the countrys official center of Maslenitsa celebrations.

This year Pskovs All-Russia Maslenitsa Festival will present a 10-meter-high effigy to be burned on Mar. 2, according to the Pskov Information Agency.

Maslenitsa is celebrated 56 days before Easter and normally falls in the second half of February or early March. The last day of the weeklong celebrations is also called Forgiveness Sunday, when people receive the opportunity to ask for forgiveness for past offenses.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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