February 14, 2023, 13:35 – BLiTZ – News Shrovetide is a traditional Russian holiday celebrated at the end of February. The BLiTZ learned about the dates for Maslenitsa in 2023 and the history of the holiday.
There is no specific date for Maslenitsa on the calendar, but there is such a thing as Maslenitsa week. It can be easily calculated, for this it is enough to subtract 56 days from the date of Easter: these are 48 days of Great Lent and the week of Maslenitsa itself.
As a result, we get the exact date of Maslenitsa – February 26th. And Maslenitsa week begins on February 20.
Maslenitsa is a pagan holiday. There are two versions of its origin. According to one of them, initially its celebration was associated with the sun god Yarila. According to another version – the “cattle god” Veles.
In ancient times Maslenitsa helped people comprehend the transition from winter to early spring. Hoping for a quick warmth, the people arranged noisy festivities: bonfires were burning, a scarecrow and wheels were set on fire. All this was an echo of the cult of the sun that reigned in Rus’.
Shortly after the adoption of Christianity, the Church consecrated this pagan holiday. Maslenitsa was filled with new interesting ideas. For example, Maslenitsa week was the last stage of preparation for Lent. It is assumed that at this time, believers should come closer to the forgiveness of all offenses, to repent before relatives and friends.
In ancient times, it was strictly forbidden to eat meat on Shrove Tuesday. But it was allowed to eat dairy products and fish, so the week was called the Cheese Week.
The people call Shrovetide in different ways: “killer whale”, “sugar lips”, “kisser”, “honest”, “merry”, “quail”, “perebuha”, “byedukha”, “yasochka”. Nowadays, the holiday is famous for its treats and is one of the most satisfying and fun.
Marrying on Shrove Tuesday was considered a bad omen. Usually the celebrations were postponed until the beginning of Easter. Shrovetide week lasted from Monday to Sunday, but often began to celebrate a little earlier. For example, our ancestors celebrated Motley or Meat Week before Maslenitsa. She got this name because fasting days and days when meat could be eaten alternated – such a “motley” period turned out.
In the last days of the Motley Week, our ancestors were actively preparing for Maslenitsa. A memorial dinner was held on Saturday, and on Sunday it was customary to visit each other.