Maslenitsa comes to Kyrenia

By Olesya Larina

Maslenitsa (also known as Butter Week, Pancake week, or Cheesefare Week), is an Eastern Slavic religious and folk holiday. It is celebrated during the last week before Great Lent—that is, the seventh week before Eastern Orthodox Easter. Maslenitsa corresponds to the Western Christian Carnival, except that Orthodox Lent begins on a Monday instead of a Wednesday, and the Orthodox date of Easter can differ greatly from the Western Christian date.

Maslenitsa has its origins in both pagan and Christian tradiRussian Pancaketions. In Slavic mythology, Maslenitsa is a celebration of the imminent end of the winter.

On the Christian side, Maslentisa is the last week before the onset of Great Lent. During the week of Maslenitsa, meat is already forbidden to Orthodox Christians, making it a myasopostnaya nedelya that can be translated as “meat-empty week” or “meat-fast week”. It is the last week during which milk, cheese and other dairy products are permitted, leading to its other name of “Cheese-fare week” or ‘Pancake week. During Lent, meat, fish, dairy products and eggs are forbidden. Furthermore, Lent also excludes parties, secular music, dancing and other distractions from the spiritual life. Thus, Russian dancersMaslenitsa represents the last chance to partake of dairy products and those social activities that are not appropriate during the more prayerful, sober and introspective Lenten season.

The last day of Maslenitsa week is called “Forgiveness Sunday”, indicating the desire for God’s forgiveness that lies at the heart of Great Lent. On Sunday all people ask forgiveness from each other, and thus Great Lent begins in the spirit of reconciliation and Christian love.

The Russian community in Northern Cyprus celebrated Maslenitsa for the first time last year. There were lots of people in Bariş Park (the Park of Peace) making Maslenitsapancakes, singing songs, dancing and thoroughly enjoying themselves. The culmination of the holiday event was the burning of a straw scarecrow symbolizing a farewell to the winter and welcoming of spring. People of different nationalities came to celebrate this day because everybody loves fun and joy!

This year Maslenitsa will take place on the 17th of March (Sunday) and will be held in the Bariş Park (Girne) again, the event will start at 12.00, the concert will begin at 13.00 with songs and dances, so everybody can join us, we are happy to see everybody on this merry day!

For those people who wish to reserve a market table in the Maslenitsa market, please call 0533 864 3543.

Here we are showing a Youtube video of last year’s event with help and support from Sergey Eletskikh