Russian Fair at Bariș Park
By Margaret Sheard
On Sunday 17th March, the Russian Community celebrated Maslenitsa and having missed it last year we made sure we went along this year to join in the festivities. 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 the Eastern Orthodox Easter.
When we arrived our friend Sergey Eletskikh was busy helping to prepare for the concert which was to start at 1pm and after a quick hello we wandered off to look at the many stalls which had been set up in the Park with many items for sale including clothes, jewellery and bric-a-brac with a Russian theme as well as food and drinks and the traditional pancakes were doing a good trade with a choice of various fillings. I chose one with chocolate and one with honey and they were delicious.
The concert was almost ready to start so we settled ourselves down to see some traditional Russian entertainment. There was a young boy who sang two songs and he was a really good performer and a small girl gave us another song and again she was very good. There then followed an assortment of acts, a young lady who sang two songs in English, there were two young ladies who did tap dancing, Russian folk dancing, flamenco and Russian gypsy dancing. There were 2 songs by another friend of ours, Svetlana Krupovich, and there were many more very good performers to entertain the crowds. In between Sergey and Olesya Larina sang traditional Russian folk songs, some old and some more modern. Sergey loves to sing and we have seen and heard him on quite a few occasions.
When the Russian part of the concert ended, there was more international entertainment with the Kibris Line Dancers who were very popular with the mixed audience and further traditional dancing from a group of ladies from the Philippines. There was more to follow but time was getting on so we had to say our farewells to the really nice Russian people we have got to know over the last year or so. Sergey told us there was to be a firework display later and the setting on fire of the straw figure which had been on display. Unfortunately we could not stay to see that event but have included a photo from Sergey’s collection in the slideshow below.
There was a very good turnout for this festival which looks as if it will be an annual event with a mix of nationalities attending to enjoy another country’s culture. We look forward to the next one.