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The tradition of Maslenitsa (also known as Shrovetide) dates back to pagan times, when Russian folk would bid farewell to winter and welcome spring. As with many ancient holidays, Maslenitsa (stress on the first syllable) has a dual ancestry: pagan and Christian. On the pagan side, Maslenitsa was celebrated on the vernal equinox. It welcomed spring and was all about nature's rejuvenation and the bounty of sunny warmth. On the Christian side, Maslenitsa was the last week before the onset of Lent, giving one last chance to bask in worldly delights.
Shrovetide is celebrated seven weeks before Easter, which is why it started on February 24 this year and ended the first weekend of spring. Russians, who usually suffer from a long frosty winter, await these holidays with anticipation. Large-scale celebrations take place in many towns (particularly in Central Russia). One of the most popular destinations on the Golden Ring tourist route, Suzdal, offers visitors its historic Kremlin, medieval weaponry, traditional log cabin lodgings, hearty food and fresh-brewed honey mead at all times of the year. However, it is especially welcoming of guests during Maslenitsa. Here, Maslenitsa is more than a simple holiday, it is a kind of carnival with specific dishes and activities, the main part of which includes burning an effigy on Forgiveness Day.In addition to attracting locals, the holiday also draws many tourists who can definitely feel the spirit of Ancient Russia.
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