Maslenitsa (8-14 March) is an Eastern Slavic religious and folk holiday, which has retained a number of elements of Slavic mythology in its ritual, celebrated during the last week before Great Lent. It celebrates the end of winter chills and the start of spring, of warmth, of hope, of growth. It is mostly celebrated by Eastern Slavs, Ukraine and Belarus, as well as Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian diaspora communities.
Also known as “butter week” or “pancake week”, it is a way to welcome spring by eating blini pancakes and engaging in exuberant festivities. The traditional attributes of the Maslenitsa celebrations are the scarecrow of Maslenitsa, sleigh rides, festivities. Russians bake blinis and tortillas, Belarusians and Ukrainians bake dumplings and cheese cakes. As it is the last week during which eggs, milk, cheese and other dairy products are permitted, this also leads to its name of ‘Cheese-fare week’.