Presentation on theme: "Done by Nikita Kolmakov. Maslenitsa (Butter Week) is the only ancient pagan celebration still included in the calendar of festivals of the Orthodox Church."— Presentation transcript:
Maslenitsa (Butter Week) is the only ancient pagan celebration still included in the calendar of festivals of the Orthodox Church. In the pre- Christian age, at this time of year when the days were getting longer, tribes all over Europe celebrated the revival of nature, with pagan rituals for seeing off the winter and greeting the spring. Today, the festival is always on the last week before Lent.
Monday – Meeting Together with the grown-ups, children made a Maslenitsa doll out of straw and old women’s clothes. They set it on a pole and carried it around, singing. Then it was placed at the top of the snow hill, from where people were sliding down.
Tuesday – Games Most of the amusement activities began on this day. Groups of friends drove around in sledges. Petrushka the clown was making people laugh in the wooden entertainment pavilions (balagan). Mummers visited homes in groups and surprised everybody with spontaneous concerts. Men were allowed to kiss any passing woman on the streets during this day.
Wednesday – Feasting This day opened the feast in all homes, when pancakes and other delicacies were prepared in quantities. Each housewife had her own pancake recipe and kept it a secret. Pancakes were made in a great variety – from wheat, buckwheat, fine-ground barley and oats. Street stalls were opened, selling ‘sbiten,’ a hot toddy (from honey, water and spices), nuts, honey cakes, tea and pancakes. This day sons-in-law went to their mothers-in-laws’ to eat bliny.
Thursday – Revelry, the Broad Thursday Entertainment was at its most extreme. This is the day when fisticuffs happened everywhere. Many strict rules applied: “Never hit a man when he is down” goes the Russian proverb, and it comes from Maslenitsa. Violations of the rules were punished. Rules, of course, are made to be broken - a Dr. Collins, in Moscow during the mid-17th century, recorded that more than 200 men were killed on this day.
Friday – Mother-in-law’s Eve Mothers-in-law were invited by their sons-in-law to a gathering with pancakes. Newlywed couples put on their best clothes and rode on decorated sledges. This was a day to visit all those who had been the guests at a wedding.
Saturday – Sister-in-law’s Gathering Sisters-in-law and other relatives were invited for dinner by a young wife, where she was supposed to distribute gifts. After strolls and round dances, when darkness arrived Maslenitsa dolls were burnt in ritual fires, with cries and laughter. Pancakes were thrown into the fire with the words: “Burn, pancake, burn, Maslenitsa!”
Sunday – Forgiveness Day People went to cemeteries and left pancakes on the graves of their ancestors. Everybody asked one another for forgiveness and bowed with the words, “God will forgive you.” All the food that was left was eaten, along with a piece of rye bread and salt, as a reminder of the coming Lent. On this day the Maslenitsa dolls continued to be burnt; after they had turned to ashes, young people jumped over the fire, and this action ended Maslenitsa. The last day of celebrating was called Pure Monday, the first day of Lent. Everybody went to the banya, women scrubbed the dishes of grease and what the cats had not eaten: “Maslenitsa won’t last forever for the cat, as Lent will come.”