Moscow gears up for a weekend of traditional start-of-spring festivities outside the Kremlin walls.
The city’s guests and residents are gathering in the center of the capital to join in a vast celebration of Maslenitsa, the country’s traditional spring festival.
This year marks the 10th year that the Kremlin is hosting the Maslenitsa festivities. The organizers of the festival did their best to make the event even more special.
The traditional Maslenitsa town is even bigger then before. More than 40 stalls will offer visitors various pancakes with different toppings and fillings.
For more pictures visit RT's Maslenitsa Gallery
Masters in traditional Russian crafts will offer free lessons to anyone interested in pottery, platting and more exotic trades. And for the children’s pure joy, the organizers built a six-meter-high slope.
The program also includes a first-ever video bridge with London’s Trafalgar Square, where local expats and Russia lovers will have fun at the third annual “Russian Maslenitsa in London” festival.
The second day of celebrations will include a range of attractions for children and their parents.
On the third day, Moscow will host a folk festival. A dozen Russian cities are sending their best folk groups to the Russian capital.
The festivities will culminate in the burning of a giant figure representing winter, as well as spectacular fireworks.
More than 300,000 Muscovites and tourists are expected to take part in thecelebrations.
The tradition of Maslenitsa dates back to pagan times, when the Russian people would bid farewell to winter and welcome spring. As with many ancient holidays, Maslenitsa has a dual ancestry, both pagan and Christian.
On the pagan side, Maslenitsa was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox. It marked the welcoming of spring, and was all about the enlivening of nature and bounty of sunny warmth.
On the Christian side, Maslenitsa was the last week before the onset of Lent (fasting which precedes Easter), offering a last chance to bask in worldly delights. Once Lent itself begins, a strictly kept fast excludes meat, fish, dairy products and eggs. Furthermore, parties, secular music, dancing and other distractions from the spiritual life are also strictly prohibited.