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Pancake Week traditions still popular in Russia

February 24, 2014, 13:28 UTC+3 ST PETERSBURG
Pancake Week starts on Monday and will last until Sunday, March 2
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© ITAR-TASS/Vladimir Smirnov
© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Fadeichev
© ITAR-TASS/Vladimir Smirnov
© ITAR-TASS/Vladimir Smirnov

ST. PETERSBURG, February 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Ancient Shrovetide, or Pancake Week, traditions remain popular in Russia, offering clear connections with simple things such as food, joy and welcoming the spring season, ethnographers say.

Shrovetide, known to most as Pancake Week, starts on Monday and will last until Sunday, March 2. In the Christian calendar, it is a week for shriving, or absolution, of sins before starting Lent.

“Pancake Week traditions are still alive in modern Russia as well as in other countries,” a researcher at the Russian Museum of Ethnography, Dmitry Baranov, told Itar-Tass.

Along with common traditions, every Russian region had its own peculiarities of Pancake Week festivities, he said. In older days, people in northwest Russia sailed boats ashore, drove bull carts on streets “like in Paris”, organized fist-fighting tournaments and dressed in costumes of fairytale characters and Finnish tribes of neighboring nations.

During this year’s Pancake Week, St. Petersburg will host multiple exhibitions and interactive guided tours. At the end of the week, residents and guests of Russia’s second-largest city will be able to participate in the merry-making with pancakes, folk games and fire shows.

“By tradition, during Pancake Week there was much more food than one could eat,” Baranov said. “Many scientists believe this magic motive of Pancake Week gluttony means first of all fertility - people wanted to attract a rich harvest in such a way. Another secret was in devastating and destroying the past, to be born again in a new world," the researcher added.

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