YAROSLAVL, February 04. /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian city of Yaroslavl has been looking forward to the Pancake week, known as Maslennitsa in Russia, which is one of the most popular holidays which celebrates the beginning of spring. The holiday, celebrated with traditional Russian blins (special flat pancakes) and folk games will be held on February 23-March 2, deputy regional governor Viktor Kostin told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
"Maslennitsa on the Yaroslavl soil means, above all, the revival of our national traditions: hence, we are considering its celebrations with a sense of special responsibility," Kostin said.
The program of Maslennitsa celebrations starts from the historic center of Yaroslavl - a stadium near the so-called "Bear Creek" site, where participants in the celebrations will be divided into carnival columns. In the meantime, traditional games, including fist-fighting, will be held within the stadium ring where some 300 fighters are expected to participate. A fist-fighting event is not merely a traditional tribute paid to Russian Maslennitsa, but a reminder of Day of the Defenders of the Motherland Russia celebrates on February 23.
For the same reason armored vehicles and the "guards” of the Empress of Central Maslennitsa, Nadezhda Babkina (a popular folk singer) will take part in the Maslennitsa carnival march. The popular singer was awarded an honorable title of "Empress-Maslennitsa" in 2011.
A big concert has been scheduled on Sovetskaya square near the Prophet Elijah Cathedral, where the carnival procession will make a stop. Around 500 guests, who are to arrive in Yaroslavl from Russian cities and the twin cities of Yaroslavl abroad, will sing a first song in chorus with Nadezhda Babkina, said Deputy chairman of the Yaroslavl Council of Patrons of Art Alexander Sedukhin, who is a member of the organizing committee of Maslennitsa celebrations.
Throughout the whole Pancake week people will enjoy Maslennitsa blins served at numerous kiosks of Maslennitsa Fair and take part in traditional games. A victory ceremony for the winners of the Maslennitsa games will be held on Sovetskaya square on the final day of the Maslennitsa festival on March 2, which will be crowned with a gala concert followed by a traditional Maslennitsa rite during which a scarecrow of the winter is put on fire to say goodbye to the cold and welcome spring.
The organizers are expecting some 10,000 people to join the celebrations.
Last December the Maslennitsa festival was awarded Grand Prix at a national tourism competition as the best project in the field of the revival of national traditions and handicraft arts.