Cheese week (Shrovetide)
Myasopust, Zvonchaty, Wedding with a pine, Carnival - all this is the name of one holiday for different peoples. We used to call him just Maslenitsa. This is the boundary between winter and spring. After the Carnival, Lent begins. The main task of which is to prepare people for the Easter holiday.
A bit of history
Maslenitsa is a familiar folk name, which we usually use, but in fact this period is called Cheese Week. The origins of this celebration are rooted in the depths of pagan times. In pre-Christian Russia this holiday was timed to the day of the Spring Equinox. The fun lasted as long as 14 days. In those days, Maslenitsa was distinguished by a special expanse: buffets were set up, the villagers gathered together to greet each other and to spend time noisily. Women, children, teenagers chose high slides and organized sledging, all accompanied by a merry laugh. Men preferred to measure their strength with their relatives and neighbors, they organized sports competitions and fights on the kulaks.
Each housewife considered it her duty to cook as much as possible delicious food. Particular attention was paid to pancakes, they were prepared with different fillings. It was not for nothing that this dish was chosen as the symbol of the holiday.
In anticipation of spring, people wanted to attract as much sunshine as possible. The pancake approaches the role of the heavenly body - the same yellow and hot. With the adoption of Christianity, many pagan holidays were abolished. But they decided to leave Pancake week, although the time of fun was shifted and became smaller. This was done in order not to violate the rules of Lent.
According to the church canons
Answering the question: "Cheese week - what is this?" - we can say that this is a great Christian holiday, which is considered the harbinger of the Great Lent. It is celebrated seven weeks before Easter. In the people this period was called - Meat. All because you could not eat meat products. During this period, the diet consisted of eggs, butter and dairy products. For the believers and servants of the Church, Cheese Week is especially important, it is the starting point for preparing for the Great Post. Christians, in addition to refusing meat, must observe a special severity in their behavior. You can not give in to fun, entertainment and revelry.
Today, many do not adhere to church canons. Modern people believe that Sedmitsa cheese (Maslenitsa) is just another reason for fun and relaxation from everyday work.
Mardi Gras week
It was believed that the Pancake week should be fun and grand. It was believed that this way you can attract luck for the next year. It should be noted that every day of the Cheese Week is assigned its role. During the week, it was necessary to perform special rituals.
Seven days are divided into a narrow Maslenitsa and wide.
Monday. On this day in the morning all the housewives proceeded to prepare pancakes, and it was also special for young girls preparing to marry. They met matchmakers, discussed the wedding menu and made a list of guests. Women who were married went to their parents, and the next morning the husband came to visit them with relatives.
Pancakes, which were baked first, were distributed to the poor and homeless, and they in turn were to pray for the deceased relatives. There were residents of several settlements, they chose especially snowy places, brought pancakes and tea with them. During the festivities, a scarecrow was built, which represented the passing winter. He was dressed in old clothes and sledged. Thus, they paid tribute to the winter months. Closer to the night, the scarecrow was installed in a conspicuous place - near the village or in the center of the city. This day is called Meeting.
Tuesday. On this day there were fairs and trips to visit. Among the young people there were show-offs, and already after Lent one could play a wedding. The future husband and wife had to spend all this time together. The guys cheered their girls, rolled on a snow slide and sang songs that praised them. The same tried to show their skills in the preparation of different dishes, which treated the future bridegrooms.
Wednesday. This day of the week was dedicated to the family. The hostess laid a large table. If the son-in-law came to visit, he needed to be carefully looked after, to show signs of special attention, so that he felt himself an expensive guest. If there were earlier disagreements, it was the best day to make up. Large tables were laid on the street, it united the inhabitants of the villages and helped to settle the previous quarrels.
The second half of the Carnival
Thursday. It was the most noisy and cheerful day of celebrating Maslenitsa. Mistresses completed all the work around the house. Cheese week was an indicator of how cheerful and friendly was the Slavic people. What are the only games and inventions they did not come up with: dizzying skating with slides, swings, carousels. Competitions in eating pancakes. Men could show their strength of courage and resourcefulness - during comic defenses and taking snow castles. People believed that by jumping over the fire they help the sun gain strength and quickly drive away the cold winter.
On Thursday, they organized fisticuffs and revered Veles, a god protecting pets. That's why the first pancakes of this day were fed to horses and cows.
Friday. This day was dedicated to the mother-in-law. The sons-in-law invited them to visit, treated and showed all their respect. On the eve of Friday, my mother-in-law passed food and utensils so that you could cook pancakes. It was cow oil, buckwheat flour, ladle and frying pan. If one of the parties did not fulfill their part of the duties, this caused hostility and quarrel.
Saturday. This day was called Zolovkin's party. The bride collected all her husband's relatives from her place, but special attention was paid to the sister-in-law, her husband's sister. She had to prepare and present the gift to the hostess. A young wife treated the guests to different dishes, once again proving their skills. If the girl was unmarried, she invited friends to visit. Representatives of the fair sex who were engaged, made gifts to their relatives.
The last day of the Cheese Week
Sunday. On this day the Cheese Week ended. Approached the end of the celebration and the living room. One of the tradition of this day is a whistle. For this purpose, whistles made in the form of birds were used. Thus, people encouraged the birds to return to their native land.
At the meeting, people bowed low to each other and asked for forgiveness for all the insults and omissions. They lit fires, chasing the winter and inviting spring. The central event of the day was the burning of a scarecrow. The remains of festive food were thrown at him. After the fire there was only ashes, which people collected and scattered in their fields or rivers. They believed that this would help awaken the sleeping land.
They cleaned the houses and prepared for the main holiday - Easter. For the whole evening, you could go up to the table seven times. And finally, to gather behind him with the whole family to live in harmony next year.
Then it was not removed, it covered with a cloth and a sheep's fur. Before sunset it was necessary to visit the cemetery to pay tribute to the deceased. Pancakes were left on the graves. On Sunday, they drank very little and went to bed before midnight.
Observance of fasting
Cheese Week: What You Can Eat? In the Christian church this week is also called Meatfowl. For the reason that the presence of meat in the food is completely excluded. The use of pancakes with cheese during this post is welcomed, and therefore it is called Cheese Week. Meals in these days are simple: dairy products, fish, eggs.
Spousal duty during the Maslenitsa
Many couples who keep fasting, the question arises whether the church allowed marital relations in the Cheese Week. In itself, the Maslenitsa week is not a strict fast. On the one hand, meat can not be, and on the other - you can fish, eggs, milk, cheese, butter. Then it follows that the absence of the wedding of a married couple in the church does not mean the need for abstinence these days. If a man and a woman are Orthodox Christians, then they can make a decision by consulting with a spiritual mentor.
Maslenitsa in 2015
Cheese season in 2015 fell from 16 to 22 February. Preparing for Shrovetide should start in advance. Do the cleaning in all rooms.
If the house has a stove, it must be completely put in order, cleaned, whitewashed. Also, each hostess should for the time of the holiday stock up with flour, butter, eggs and various sweets.