Maslenitsa

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Despite the fact that Maslenitsa is a heathen holiday the custom of Maslenitsa celebration survives to this day. This day is also known as Pancake week, Crepe week or Butter week.

Maslenitsa in Ukraine
Maslenitsa

What is Maslenitsa?

Traditionally Pancake holiday is a celebration of the end of the winter. Nowadays Maslenitsa became a religious holiday. It is celebrated during the last week of Lent. It is one of the oldest Slavic holidays. During Maslenitsa all meat products are forbidden because of Lent. However, milk, eggs, butter are still permitted. Ukrainian pancakes cooked during Maslenitsa week are called “mlyny”. They are cooked from butter, eggs and milk.

Except pancakes baking each day of Maslenitsa celebration comes with it’s customs, rituals and activities.

  • Monday – building of Lady Maslenitsa from strow.
  • Tuesday – young men search for a fiancée to marry after lent.
  • Wednesday – sons-in-law visit their mother-in-law who has prepared pancakes and invited other guests for a party.
  • Thursday – outdoor activities. Among such activities are sledding, ice skating, snowball fights.
  • Friday – sons-in-law may invite their mothers-in-law for dinner.
  • Saturday – gathering of a young wife with her sisters-in-law to work on a good relationship.
  • Sunday – burning of Lady Maslenitsa in a bonfire.

Sunday is also called “Forgiveness Sunday”. This is the day when people ask each other for forgiveness. You also can make some small presents to your near and dear ones. This is the day when you can show your feelings, open your heart to forgiveness, forget all old bad things and look around in a new light. With “Lady Maslenitsa” people burn in a bonfire not only cold winter days, but also problems and misfortune. People believe that Spring should be met only with the clean soul, head and heart. Spring brings a new breath in our lives and we need to be ready to welcome it. The next day is called “Clean Monday” because people have confessed their sins and asked forgiveness.

Ukrainian Maslenitsa is not only a week of fun and tasty Ukrainian pancakes, but also religious and spiritual holiday.