Venice Carnival, Mardi Gras, Carnival in Brazil - a week before Lent around the globe a wave of holiday extravaganza, anyway commemorating the arrival of spring. Many are sent to distant lands to take part in one of the carnivals. And after all, we have the holiday, which without exaggeration can be called a Russian carnival. This holiday - Mardi Gras.
Holiday with true Russian soul and swing. Bright and unrestrained, cheerful and hospitable. Where there Italians and Brazilians! The breadth of the Russian soul they do not understand - songs, dances, dances, ice skating on the roller coaster, troika with sleigh bells, snow fights and, of course, pancakes. With sour cream, honey, cranberries, white salmon and caviar. This festival is a reflection of the Russian character, bright, welcoming, and eager for life and fun. Only the Russian people with such joy can see off winter and welcome spring in the month of February, when the frost crackling trees and carefully trained blizzard drifts.
And, actually, why in February, you ask? After the first spring month of March is considered the calendar, and in our latitudes, spring comes and completely in early April. In order to understand the reason for this discrepancy, go on a short journey through time.
The first pancake - a clod, we say, and sometimes do not know that, initially, it was an expression of a somewhat different meaning and sounded different. The first pancake - comas. That is the bears. Our ancestors called this holiday Komoeditsey. It bears the kings of Russian forests, cajoled rosy Blinken, dainty hanging on the branches of trees. Bear's father was considered among the Slavic tribes defender and feed him because it was honorable and obligatory tradition.
But why Carnival is baked pancakes, and this holiday is not called Crepes and Carnival? All this is easily explained if we remember that our ancestors of this invention familiar to us, like a refrigerator, you could only dream of. Oil had to be stored in the cellars. That it is not rancid and is lost at the end of the winter started eating plenty of flavor oil. Hence the name: oily Carnival, Mardi Gras wide.
Our ancestors worshiped not only the animals, they believed in the power of nature. Pancakes called Yarily the ground, the sun god of spring and fertility. Yarilo belonged to the gods, who died in the winter and again revived in the spring. He was represented by a beautiful young man on a white horse. The eternal bridegroom earth awakens to life, fills her fertile juices, the flame of love warms the hearts of men. Celebrating Pancake Day was a symbol of victory over the winter of frost and ice on the death of insensitivity. Life in those days was much more severe, and preserve the family, livestock and farm intact for devastating cold was a great achievement, joy and a perfect excuse for further celebration.
Pancakes were once very different, not like the ones we are used to. Moloduha recruited in the palm flour and dipped his hands clenched into water, the resulting lump of unleavened dough baked in the oven. Baked round suns were almost mystical attributes of the spring meetings. Bite of this cake meant to let a spring, the warmth of the sun and the joy of renewal.
As long as the ground does not reach Russia Christianity, celebrated Shrove Tuesday at certain times - 21 March, the day of the vernal equinox. In one festival was concluded several events: the arrival of spring and the new year. Therefore I met him bright and fun. The fun begins seven days before the vernal equinox. And ends seven days after. That is, the first week saw off winter, thank the forces of nature that survived the difficult time of the year, and the second week to meet spring, once offered up prayers of thanksgiving that spring has come, do not forget about them in their travels. Celebrate in Russia has always loved and knew how to.
Oddly enough for a modern man, but the burning of effigies, rather stuffed goddess of death and winter Marena was not a symbol of destruction. During the winter, they escorted with honor by offering it all the required rite honors. The same fire, which burned an effigy Marena, anyone could throw your old or unwanted things to the arrival of the new year to find the update. And thrown into the fire thing was considered a symbolic sacrifice.
With the advent of Christianity, unlike most pagan festivals, Mardi Gras was not forgotten, and even any change. It says that the Carnival is loved by the people. Orthodox priests did not dare to deprive the people of this wonderful tradition. She was given a new meaning and changed the date of the celebration. Pancake week began seven days before the beginning of Lent. Since the date of Lent are calculated depending on the date of occurrence of Easter, and the date of commencement of Shrovetide me too. But the essence of the festival, ceremonies, fun remained.
Holiday with the Russian soul
Noisy dance, Maslenitsa pripevki, fisticuffs and skating at this Russian troika. And reigning over all this spirit of renewal and clean sincere joy that the long harsh winter has passed, it will soon replace the mournful songs blizzard tingle melodious drops, starlings sing funny songs, mockingbirds - that's what people bring with them this holiday. And because Shrovetide celebration in Russia held a special scale. Especially on the eve of a long post like a walk as the last time.
Celebrations began in the early morning and ended late at night to the next day again. And so during the whole week. They said: "How Pancake meet, and the year will pass." Like any masquerade ball this holiday erased the boundaries of caste. On equal walked and nobles, and peasants. From historical records, we know that the king Peter did not disdain these days to ride in a troika or take part in skating mountain.
Slides for sledding on holiday Maslenitsa erected glorious. In large cities, the height of hills reaches 15 meters. Tradition was a young unmarried boys walking on a hill with beautiful carved sleigh with his hands - the skill to boast, yes, I can, find himself a bride. Sledge made tricky to vending girl who dared to move out from the mountain with a guy, the guy could sit only on their knees. And while you go to the mountains, maybe a kiss at the chosen one will be able to disrupt. Girls depicting spring on national holidays, whipping unmarried men, saying: "Marry you to fall."
In the main square, in the center, pour in a tall pillar, on top of which hung some valuable thing as a prize. Things were preparing for the post well before the holiday, most often it was the boots, male or female. Women's boots were usually made of soft leather, beautiful, patterned embroidered with brightly colored thread. Post polished to smoothness that no bitch did not perform. We had to climb up on it and get the prize. Around the post was going to a lot of people, jokes and rhymes cheered daredevils. If the guy was able to get it for the girls boots, of course, he is very clever indeed removed. After such a feat was possible and send matchmakers.
Shopping malls located right there on the square. Counters laden with sweet goods. Brought from nearby restaurants and taverns the wine flowed freely. But drinking during the holidays though many, but not drunk. Because for drunken celebration quickly ended. Drunk guy and not let the hill, fistfight and will not accept.
Fist fights were considered the main fun. Love in Russia face off silushkoy heroic. Someone fist fights, and someone waving a hammer hitting an anvil - a shot is stronger and louder, and to win.
Taking a snow fort - it is also one of the ancient Russian fun. And if today stormed the fortress "Marines" in the old days they stormed on horseback. Unfold real battles, military strategy and not easy to win, which was attended and children.
Despite the apparent confusion of the racket of fun, all the days of Shrovetide week painted. All events held at the feast, and to this day is strictly the relevant provisions of the order.
Living Traditions Maslenitsa
Ahead of time, to Monday, to the beginning of the holiday, ice built or wooden coasters that are sure to top several times watered. The first children to move out of slides. They are made from straw doll, portly beautiful Shrove Tuesday, and with it go from house to house, singing and demanding treats. However, to see this tradition in its purest form is now possible only in the villages, where it still remains unchanged. In the cities, the straw doll carried through the square where the festivities, but the treat is to give everyone who sneaked past the Shrove Tuesday.
Tuesday - zaigryshi. In this day and ride the mountains newlyweds. That is, those who got married this year, must move out from the mountain. Guessing - the farther the sled will travel, the longer and happier life together would be. And the unmarried girls handed out pancakes, they should bring the first that fell guy to ask his name, and thus know the name of her spouse. This kind of divination Shrovetide. However, in the cities, and this tradition has changed. Now, in this day just decided to move down from the mountains in pairs. Sledding or ledyankah. Ledyankah now called a plastic mat with a pen. And before ledyanki prepared very carefully: a bowl or other similar utensils (bucket, for example) endured the cold, inverted and periodically doused with water so that the bottom, the ice freezes to get a smooth round shape. It depended on how fast and far umchit such ledyankah rider.
Wednesday - gourmand or Teschin pancakes. The tradition of this day is the same in both large cities and in the most remote villages. On the third day of the carnival-law made to go on a visit to the wife's mother. It should be treated to the best and greasy pancakes, and mother-in-law should behave "Tender own mother." It is believed that this day could be a turning point in the sometimes not very smooth dealings in-law and mother in law. By the way, on the same day, those who had not yet married, you can choose a bride. It is believed that the choice will be as successful as possible.
Thursday - roam. Just the same day, in the old days when fights were held. Anyone wishing to measure their strength. Battles and conducted one-on-one and in groups, usually shared by territories. The winners were honored in every way. Today fisticuffs are purely illustrative and entertaining. But the symbolic battle for the capture of snow forts are widely popular in our days.
Friday, or Teschin Vecherki - rather bereft tradition, but in some parts of Russia, it is alive and well. On this day, mother-in-law had to send a son-all of which can be cooked pancakes. And that, in turn, had to bake pancakes on their own, without any help, and to invite the wife's mother on a visit to regale her with his own cooking pancakes. It was believed that the delicious pancakes, the better mother-in-law refers to. That's when you can no words to express my respect for the wife's mother and to improve relations if there is such a need.
Zolovkina gatherings or drop-offs on Saturday. In the morning the daughter fussing in the kitchen, preparing a feast for the whole world - or rather, the whole kin. On this day, family members on both sides could talk, praising enough pancakes to the evening all together to go to the area where the burn an effigy of Maslenitsa. Another sign for single guys: man must have time to touch the luxury breast stuffed to this year's sure to find a mate. And of course, the culmination of folk festivals become burning effigy of Maslenitsa. With songs and dances. Fire rises high, with fire and smoke flies everything from what should be free.
Completion of Maslenitsa was Forgiveness Sunday. On this day people ask for forgiveness from all relatives and friends. Even those to whom you do not feel guilty. This is a deep sense of humility pride, the ability to admit his guilt and repent of it - the best cleansing before Lent. As the famous saying goes: "Not all cat Carnival will and Lent."
Not only Russian Shrovetide
Mardi Gras in the form in which we know it exists not only in Russia. And it is not talking about any of the carnival, although similar roots have this holiday with them. It turns out that the tradition of pancakes on Pancake week is in many countries.
In the Balkans, too, bake pancakes all week, however, there is still a tradition to ride through the streets of the villages ... in the trough. Such snow, as in Russia, they do not have at this time, so that the people can be turned out as you can.
The prim England entertained during the Shrovetide, arranging competitions between women who are on the run should pop into the air and then catch the pan hot pancakes. However, not every woman is possible. The winner is the one that will be able to bring to the finish pancake, flipped so that the maximum number of times and still had not fallen. I feel here typical British humor.
In Scotland, still baked from rye flour unleavened balls. Bake them in the ashes, and you remember that it began with this story yellow Russian pancake.
But the closest in their desire to stay in these days of carnival clowns Russian steel, of course, the Czechs. To this day, in the small villages of the Czech young men smear soot and face the music bypass the village with painted wooden beam. Girls, inadvertently got on the way these processes, the rope that dragged board, hang on the neck and forced to pay off with kisses.
Holiday with a deep sense
For our ancestors Carnival had deep spiritual meaning of the liberation of all the old revival after its winter sleep, ready for a new life and free from unnecessary and superficial. After the ritual burning of Maslenitsa - a symbol of purification, cleansing fire.
Undoubtedly, it is a pity that many of the traditions of this holiday is no longer possible to revive in the modern world. And few modern housewives, saying saying about the first pancake, knows that thereby treats a bear-priest. In place of the old comes the new, with an equally deep meaning. But very much that we did not forget about their own roots, and, stepping forward, not lost in the way of what is truly valuable: its own traditions and history. Perhaps the revival of the traditions of celebration of Pancake Day will be the first step towards the revival of the true Russian soul and traditional Russian character.