The overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of Russia celebrating the ancient Slavic holiday of seeing off winter are not fully dedicated to where their favorite traditions and rites come from. Shrovetide 2020 will recall the customs of the Russian people and we will again enjoy the festivities and of course the taste of rosy pancakes.
The origins of the holiday
Shrovetide began to be celebrated by the Slavs in pagan times. Then this holiday was associated with the onset of a new period and the day of the vernal equinox. By the way, in some countries this day until today is the beginning of a new year. Traditions that have survived to this day are also associated with this event, for example, burning a scarecrow and baking pancakes that personify the Sun. At that time, people's lives depended heavily on crops, so most customs were associated with fertility.
Burning a scarecrow symbolizes farewell to everything obsolete and the meeting of a new time, better, brighter and more productive. Spreading ash is an act of fertilizing the soil to grow a new crop. Thus, it is shown that the past is over and everyone is ready to meet a new period. With the awakening of the new, the fight against hibernation and inertia, they associate the tradition of taking a winter town or fist fights.
Shrovetide is also difficult to imagine without the cult of ancestors. It was previously believed that the deceased can influence earthly processes and can contribute to a new crop. To do this, they tried not to speak badly about the dead and visit their graves. Mandatory attribute of these actions were pancakes and alcohol. In general, the memorial part of Shrovetide is a kind of stimulation of fertility.
The advent of a new time cannot be imagined without the birth of a new life. This cannot be achieved without a healthy family. Therefore, during Maslenitsa ceremonies are held ceremonies:
- "pillars" that are dedicated to newlyweds and guests.
- "Tselnik" and others.
Traditions such as comic flirtations of singles, sledding and downhill rides, etc., are devoted to the same goal.
In ancient times, it was believed that fertility depends on the fertility of people, therefore, reproductive ability was encouraged in every way.
Shrovetide after the adoption of Christianity
In Christianity, Shrovetide is dedicated to preparing for the most rigorous fasting. The name of the holiday itself comes from the name of the week that follows Meat. In Meat Eater, it is still possible to eat meat. In the Cheese or Pancake week eat everything except meat. According to the Church Charter, even fasts on Wednesday and Friday are canceled.
Overall, Pancake Week aims at reconciliation between people. All insults are forgiven, relations are being established between relatives, relatives and friends. Charity and help to the poor and destitute are greatly appreciated.
Pancake week in Christianity is an integral part of cleansing people from filth and bad thoughts.
The period of the celebration of Maslenitsa is associated with Lent, and it is tied to the Holy Sunday. Therefore, Shrovetide is celebrated every year at different times, like Easter. In 2020:
|Great Lent||March 2 - April 18|
|Maslenitsa||February 24 - March 1|
Russian traditions and rites
Shrovetide is one of the ancient holidays that has preserved the traditions of the past. Even the adoption of Christianity had little effect on the customs that have existed since pagan times. Each day is dedicated to a particular custom, which has a specific name:
|"A meeting"||During the day, an effigy of Pancake week is made, which personifies the past time. It is made from straw and must be dressed up. In the morning, pancakes are baked, and after lunch, they roll down the hills. All actions are accompanied by ritual songs.|
|"Flirting"||Lovers try to find the longest hill, as there is an opinion that the longer the couple descends, the happier and longer the newlyweds' life will be. On Tuesday, it is customary to invite all relatives to pancakes.|
|Gourmet||On Wednesday, the mother-in-law invites sons-in-law to pancakes. During games, it is also customary to pay off the crowd with sweets and pancakes. Still on the "gourmet" they put on clothes that were during the wedding.|
|"Go for a walk"||This day is known for fist fighting, storming a snowy city, puppet shows, etc. At the peak of the holiday, the scarecrow of Pancake Week is planted at the highest place in the village.|
|"Mother-in-law's evening"||On Friday, the son-in-law invites his mother-in-law to pancakes. The latter should not forget flour and butter.|
|"Zolovkin gatherings"||In the evening, women who are married invite all relatives of her husband and his sisters to pancakes. If the sisters-in-law are unmarried, then girlfriends of the wife are invited.|
|Forgiveness Sunday||This day is dedicated to reconciliation. All people try to apologize to each other for wrong actions. At the same time, when asked to forgive, they answer with the words: "God will forgive."|
On Sunday, the Pancake week carnival is removed from its former place and carried until evening in all streets of the village. Then come the Maslenitsa wires. A scarecrow is burned in the presence of a large crowd of people. At this time, ritual songs are heard. Ashes from a scarecrow are scattered across the fields for the quick awakening of the earth.
Also on Sunday go to the graves of their ancestors. They remember the deceased and always leave pancakes. In the evening they also visit the bathhouse to become cleaner before Lent.
Pancakes for Shrovetide
By tradition, pancakes are baked every day in the oil week. They can be with different fillings:
- cheese or cottage cheese;
- honey, etc.
To make the pancakes thin, the dough must be made as liquid as possible. They will become incredibly tasty if you cook them in milk. Pancakes will become lace and with holes, if during cooking, pour not only milk, but hotter into the dough.
Also, during the holiday week, the housewives make custard pancakes. In this case, women pour boiled milk into the dough.
Pancakes turn out gentle and airy, if instead of milk, use kefir or another sour-milk product.
Delicious pancake recipe
For those who did not cook such yummy, here is the recipe.
For cooking you will need:
- flour - 300 gr.;
- eggs - 4 pcs.;
- sugar - 50 gr.;
- kefir -0.5 l.;
- sunflower oil - 100 gr.;
- water - 0.5 l .;
- soda - 10 gr.
- salt 1 tsp
- Beat eggs on a blender until foam appears.
- Add salt and hot water while continuing to whisk.
- Pour kefir into this mixture.
- Sift the flour.
- Add sugar, soda and butter to it.
- We mix all the ingredients and mix thoroughly until a homogeneous mass is formed.
- We heat the pan, oiled.
- We bake pancakes.
You can try making thick pancakes. They are cooked approximately as shown above. The difference will be a thicker solution of a mixture of flour and kefir. Also, before baking, it is better that the flour mixture with eggs is slightly cooled in the refrigerator (15 minutes). After that, add sunflower oil, beat well and bake in a heated frying pan.
If you plan to make pancakes with filling, then you can bake them even on water. In this case, pancakes come out quite elastic.
On Tuesday, you can make chocolate pancakes with rum for the “Trick”. They include melted dark chocolate, cocoa powder and rum. Cooking them is not difficult. The procedure for preparing a pancake mix is no different from the previous recipe. You can choose the cottage cheese topping.
On Wednesday, the mother-in-law can cook pancakes with nuts and honey for her son-in-law. They give strength and not only physical. Such a delicacy with a “hint” he will really like.
For "Walking" pancakes with cheese, eggs and herbs will be appropriate.
Beetroot pancakes with herring, eggs, greens and mustard will be appropriate on "Mother-in-law's evening".
On Saturday, sisters-in-law can please guests with pancake rolls with red fish. They also include:
- cream cheese;
Pancake cake with a liver and mushrooms can be prepared on the wires of Shrovetide.
Since pagan times, it is believed that pancakes personify our sun. Therefore, there was a belief, the more you eat these goodies, the more strength and energy you will receive from our luminary.
Songs on Shrovetide
Folk holidays are impossible to imagine without songs. Shrovetide is no exception. During the week, various ceremonial songs are performed in accordance with what the day is dedicated to. On the first day they sing songs about the meeting of Shrovetide. Sometimes these songs contain a reproach. Like, why Shrovetide did not come for so long. In some songs they laugh at her and even scold in a comic form. Also in Pancake week songs it is sung about the abundance that will come with the advent of new time.
During the "Tune" jokes with a light erotic content. Some ditties have words about a rich and happy life.
During the Pancake week, sometimes sad melodies sound. They recall the separation from close relatives or the severity of the father-in-law, etc.
In general, the songs are comic, provocative. To have an idea of the songs, you can familiarize yourself with A. Ostrovsky’s play “The Snow Maiden” or watch a similar opera written by N. Rimsky-Korsakov.
"Every day is not Sunday"
Surely, many have heard this expression at least once in their lives. It is usually used when luck ends and a person is faced with an ordinary life. With these words it is shown that everything has its beginning and end. Not always a person bathes in oil, there come moments of disappointment and failure.
After all, even after the fun and laid-back days of Shrovetide week, strict fasting occurs when you need to refrain from the usual food and entertainment.
At the same time, difficult times are not eternal either. Our life consists of white and black stripes. Realizing this, people do not become depressed, but dream of new successes and luck.
In general, this proverb, somehow, echoes the mood of Shrovetide. After all, after this holiday, people also hope that all adversities are left behind and with a new period, good luck, luck and a new life, more prosperous and happy, will come.
Why the church does not welcome Maslenitsa
In the Orthodox calendar there is no such holiday as Shrovetide. Cheese week falls on this period. During it, believers no longer eat meat. This is the time of preparation for Lent.
So that the body gets used to strict restrictions, the preparatory period is extended for two weeks. Believers are gradually abandoning meat, then - from fish and dairy products. This time is subject to humility and spiritual and physical purification.
During Maslenitsa ceremonies are held that are contrary to the general mood of the Orthodox religion. Noisy fun, eating a lot of food and mating games do not correspond to religious canons. Therefore, church officials have a negative attitude to the noisy wires of Shrovetide. Fortunes of fortune-telling, burning a scarecrow, etc. are also not welcome.
Shrovetide is a purely pagan celebration and is dedicated to the seeing off of winter.
Where else is Maslenitsa celebrated
There is an erroneous opinion that only Slavic peoples celebrate Shrovetide. In fact, similar states have winter farewell holidays in many states. True, their names are completely different. For example:
- In Greece, Apocries;
- Germany - Fastnacht;
- Poland - Fat Thursday;
- America and parts of Europe - Mardi Gras;
- Armenia - Bun Barekendan.