Maslyana (Masnytsya, rus. Maslenitsa) is the ancient Slavic winter holiday dedicated to the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring. It’s celebrated during a week before the Great Lent – the most important fasting season of the year of Orthodox Christian Church. The holiday is associated with the tradition to cook tasty dishes – pancakes, dumplings, cheesecakes, pies, etc.
Since the ancient times the eastern Slavs have been surviving long and extremely cold winters. Maslyana was originally the Slavic pagan festival, symbolizing the end of a difficult winter season. During the seven days of Maslyana people used to cook delicious pastry dishes, eat a lot, and treat each other with large and good meals. Each festival day was followed by a separate ritual event.
Such a big people’s holiday could not be restricted by the Christian Church. So Maslyana became the last reason to enjoy the earthly pleasures before the Great Lent – a long time of intensified prayers, entering into the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, abstinence from many foods and carnal pleasures. During Maslyana Orthodox Christians have to end all quarrels, forgive their enemies, share the tasty food and have fun.
In 2011 Maslyana begins on February 28
In 2012 Maslyana begins on February 20
In 2013 Maslyana begins on February 11
In 2014 Maslyana begins on February 24
Photos: Maslyana 2010 in Pyrohiv Kyiv.