Wednesday, 24 February 2010

A bit late

Over a week late mentioning Maslenitsa/Масленица, also known as Butter week, Pancake week or Cheesefare Week, a religious, folk festival which ran from 8th – 14th Feb this year. It's connected – like Pancake Tuesday in the UK – to Lent and the lead up to Easter. Because it is the last week during which milk, cheese and other dairy products are allowed for Orthodox Christians, and because Lent also does not favour distractions such as music and dancing, Maslenitsa is the last chance to have a party with dairy products.... mainly pancakes as far as I could tell.

There was also something about sunflowers and effigy burning, but I missed whatever it was that was happening, so not very helpful.

We have also just had Defenders of the Fatherland day - seen as a kind of 'Mens' Day in parallel with International Womens' Day in March (!) - which involved Red Square being closed a lot and fireworks late at night; but again, I haven't worked out what was going on. Sorry.

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