Wide Maslenitsa at UNECON

On February 20, UNECON international students celebrated the Russian traditional holiday of Wide Maslenitsa, or Pancake Week. It is one of the oldest Slavic folk festivals, its history dates back to pagan times.

People celebrated Maslenitsa to say goodbye to a long and chilling winter and welcome spring. The main ritual of Maslenitsa is the burning of the straw figure of the Winter - an echo of pagan traditions. In Christian times this holiday was celebrated to mark the last week before the Great Lent (fasting which precedes Easter), it gave people the last chance to eat dairy, meat and other filling food.

At Maslenitsa students enjoyed traditional Russian entertainments – sang  folk songs, played games that have been popular in Russia for centuries and danced round dance – khorovod. Circle is a sacred figure in Russian culture, it plays a big role in Maslenitsa celebration as well. But the most important round thing at Maslenitsa is a pancake (blin). Round, hot and golden pancakes resemble the Sun and are deemed to help warm up the frozen earth. It’s impossible to imagine baking pancakes without butter, so the word “Maslenitsa” itself is derived from the Russian “maslo”, which means butter or oil in Russian.

Of course, those who took part in Maslenitsa celebration at UNECON, also had a chance to eat plenty of pancakes with traditional fillings – jam and sour cream, and to try popular Russian drinks – kvas and mors.


Contact information

191023, Russia, St. Petersburg,
Griboedov canal emb., 30-32

Department of International Cooperation
+7 812 7105644