Ukrainian people are very cheerful and fun loving. Thus our culture is very rich for different holidays and bright celebrations. Today we will talk about one of the most authentic events in our national tradition – Shrovetide (also called Carnival, Pancake week or Maslenitsa).
This is a great feast that lasts for a whole week and accompanied with outstanding competitions, games and ceremonies. During this week people have fun, greet each other and treat with the pancakes – the main symbol of Maslenitsa.
Modern people support this tradition with pleasure. But there is only one difference – celebration time is shortened to 2 days – weekends. In any case the main feast takes place on Sunday which is also called Forgiveness Sunday. People gather all around and ask for forgiveness saying “Forgive me, what am I guilty or have sinned against you.” and get the answers “God forgives you, and I forgive you“. The idea is to get purged from your sins and resentments and start the Great Lent with pure soul.
The dates of Pancake week are not stable. The celebration comes just before the Big Lent that appropriately connected to Ester. But in fact Christian Shrovetide is an interpretation of old Slavic tradition. It formed on a basis of Pagan beliefs, was modified by Orthodox Church and got Christian features.
Originally the date of Maslenitsa was fixed – it took place on 20th of March – vernal equinox day. It was very important and symbolic time as people celebrated meeting spring and said goodbyes to winter.
The main attribute of holiday – pancakes is a symbol of sun! With this dish people invited spring to come and worm the earth. People made rituals assigned for welcoming the sun.
Public games and competitions where symbolizing a fight between spring and winter, light and darkness, life and death. In any case the spring was the winner as every Shrovetide ended up with burning a straw puppet Marena – goddess of winter, death and darkness. This tradition is saved to nowadays and everyone can admire this ritual on public celebrations.
Now you know the tradition so welcome to join this beautiful feast! Be ready to eat, drink, and participate in different competitions! You will see people in national costumes, smiling and cheering you up! Moreover that Touristic Kiev prepared for you the list of places whre you can celebrate Maslenitsa so Don’t stay aside!