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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 town’s 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 city’s museums and parks have created thematic festival programs for them.

Skazkin Dom (Fairy Tale House), one of St. Petersburg’s children’s 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 children’s 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 country’s official center of Maslenitsa celebrations.

This year Pskov’s 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

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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