History of Maslenitsa in Russia
Maslenitsa is one of the few folk festivals with many thousands of years of history, which is still celebrated today by Russians. True, of the dozens of rituals invented for the winter's wake on the eve of the Great Lent, our contemporaries are known for their strengths of 5-6. Moreover, many do not know why and when the Maslenitsa appeared in Russia. The history of the holiday is interesting for children who are particularly attracted by gay games and entertainment, as well as delicious traditional food. For example, it is difficult to find a child who does not like pancakes and pancakes!
The rites of the meeting of spring and winter's wake existed among many sedentary peoples even during the time of paganism. In particular, the Slavs from time immemorial celebrated the day of the spring solstice. There is also an alternative view that the history of Maslenitsa goes back to the time when there was a cult of the god Veles, who is the patron of cattle breeding and farming. His feast was on the 24th of February according to the new style and anticipated the meeting of the new year, which until the year 1492 began in March.
Many researchers believe that the history of the Maslenitsa originates from the era of antiquity. And indeed, a holiday similar to the Slavic wires of winter, existed even in ancient Rome. After the adoption of Christianity by the Emperor Constantine, and in the following 1-2 centuries, the church faced the urgent need to eradicate paganism. To this end, many holidays of the new religion were postponed to dates corresponding to the days when it was customary to praise the ancient Roman gods. In particular, the borders of Lent were somewhat shifted, and instead of bacchanalia and saturnalia, religious processions began to be held. By the way, not many people know that the French word "carnival" translates as "farewell meat" and is consonant with the second old name of the Russian Carnival - Meat Pust. For the first time carnivals in the modern sense in most European cities began to take place in the 9th century. By this time the church had already consolidated its positions, and the clergy fought less vigorously with the remnants of the pagan past, especially since the first half of the festive week was accompanied by numerous religious ceremonies.
History of the celebration of Maslenitsa in Russia: origins
As you know, Christianity came to us from the Byzantine Empire, which is the heir to the culture of ancient Greece. That is why the history of Maslenitsa in Russia is a mixture of Slavic rites with Orthodox traditions of folk festivals on the eve of Lent. The latter, in turn, arose as a continuation of the procession in honor of the god Dionysius.
Carnival and Lent
Sometimes people tend to idealize the past and forget that Russia up until the 18th century was an agrarian country where the majority of the population was made up of peasants. Their prosperity directly depended on the weather conditions, so that in bad years many people had to face such a phenomenon as hunger. Thus, a nourishing meal for many was one of the few pleasures available, so any holiday turned into a feast. This is especially clear when considering the history of the Carnival's origin. In particular, many researchers believe that Lent, apart from religious overtones, had a completely utilitarian meaning. After all, at the end of winter and early spring, the peasants ran out of food supplies, and strict abstinence allowed them to "hold out" until the spring, when mushrooms and greens appeared. At the same time, in the beginning of February, calving began, so there was a lot of milk, from which butter and cheese were made. During the fasting period, they were able to prepare for future use, so after Easter the peasants were provided with high-calorie foods, which was very useful in the days of sowing. Before long to give up a hearty meal, peasants and representatives of other classes had fun and indulged in gluttony. And how the story of the Carnival appeared was dependent on the tastes and preferences of princes and kings.
Celebrating at Peter the Great
In the first half of the 18th century, some European traditions penetrated into Russia. In particular, in 1722, after the end of a protracted war with Sweden, Emperor Peter the First invited foreign ambassadors to take part in the oily wandering. In order to surprise Europe, an unprecedented spectacle was arranged: the king rode in the snow on a ship harnessed by sixteen horses, followed by a "gondola" with Queen Catherine in the suit of a simple peasant woman. And that is not all! Behind the royal people moved other ships, harnessed by different animals, which drove the courtiers. All this was accompanied by loud music and illumination and made an unforgettable impression on the audience.
Celebration of Pancake week under Catherine II
The Shrovetide story contains several interesting pages related to the name of Catherine II. In particular, she introduced the custom of organizing masquerade marches in Moscow, where she moved with the entire court at the end of winter. For the first time such a spectacle the city's residents and foreign guests could admire the day of the coronation of the empress. In total, 4000 people and 200 chariots took part in the march.
There is also such a history of celebration of Maslenitsa, referring to the era of the reign of Catherine II: on the occasion of the birth of Alexander's grandson the Empress organized a celebration of unprecedented scope. In particular, it is known that the courtiers, who became winners in the games started after dinner, were given precious gifts. In just one evening the Empress gave 150 jewelry pieces, for which the Shrovetide of 1777 was nicknamed Diamond.
The history of Maslenitsa has preserved to us a description of special rituals. In this case, our ancestors shrovetide week was painted by the day, and each had a special name:
"Meeting" - Monday;
"Gourmand" is the medium;
"Wide-roast-chetvertok" - Thursday;
"Evening mothers" - Friday;
"Zolovkin gathering" - Saturday;
"Forgiven day" is Sunday.
Popular attractions were such as ice skating and sleigh rides, rituals related to the newlyweds, processions of mummers, fisticuffs and group competitions. For example, the participants of the merrymaking were divided into two groups and fought on the fists or arranged the capture of a snow town. And, of course, Maslenitsa was unthinkable without burning a stuffed animal, which in different regions looked different.
As already mentioned, Maslenitsa was the last opportunity to eat well before a long Lent. Traditional treats consisted of dairy products (sour cream, cottage cheese, cheese) and eggs, as well as from all sorts of flour products such as syrniki, pancakes, sweets, flat cakes and brushwood. As for drinks, the preference was given to beer.
Shrovetide festival: a story for children
To preserve the traditions of the Russian people, it is extremely important to involve children in their culture from an early age. This applies to Maslenitsa. After all, this holiday is one of the few that has reached us almost unchanged. Teachers are advised to start acquaintance of the kids with Shrovetide with the story that once long ago our ancestors, tired of the long winter, decided to arrange a merry departure. And what a fun without children's games and fun. Therefore, jokes were invented, the participants of which could find out which of them was the most intelligent and clever fellow.
In addition, if you want to arrange a kindergarten festival "Carnival: a story for children", it is worthwhile to learn from the kids various jokes-jokes. Despite the fact that they were invented several centuries ago, today they are a good tool for introducing the kids to their national culture.
Now you know how the Carnival was celebrated in Russia. The history of the holiday is full of interesting facts, which for sure will be interesting for adults and children alike.