By Arianna

What happened in Brookes when we celebrate Maslenitsa?

So on Wednesday 6th March, 2019 in Brookes School, we celebrated Maslenitsa. However Maslenitsa wasn’t the only thing we celebrated, we also celebrated 100 days in Brookes (see article by Neneh!).

To celebrated Maslenitsa we first went to the assembly hall to attend a dedicated event organised. by the Russian teachers, the reception children and year 8. A special guest had been invited who played a harmonica when we walked in. Then, the year 8 students showed us a presentation on Maslenitsa and told us a little bit about it. Next, we played a traditional Russian game, organised by Ms. Sokolova, Artur and Robert in year 8, called a snowball fight. Artur and Robert took turns throwing snowballs into the audience made of tissues with questions written inside them. The person who caught the ball read it out to the rest of the audience and someone else had to answer it. Then, the year 4’s sang some different songs for us in English about Maslenitsa. Next, the Russian teachers called different people from different houses to participate in various actives and fun games to earn some house points. In the end Balmoral (read house) won.

Then to end the celebrations, the Russian teacher invited everyone to play another traditional game called Brook. Brook is a game where everyone stands in two rows holding hands with a partner to make a roof shape, then another person goes under and at any point can chose another person by grabbing him or her on the arm and joining the line at the end, then the person who has no partner goes to the front of the line and starts the whole chain again! Later on in the day for breakfast and lunch in school we had pancakes with different jams and sauces! And that was what happened on Maslenitsa day at Brookes Moscow!

Some fun fact and history about Maslenitsa!

Maslenitsa is one of the most popular and cheerful religious holidays in Russia. It originated from pagan times before Russia was converted to Christianity. At first, this holiday was a symbol of the spring solstice but nowadays it is considered a Christian holiday which occurs just before the Great Lent. During Maslenitsa people enjoy almost any food, except meat. Usually Maslenitsa lasts for seven days and on the last day of this holiday, people burn a doll which is made of branches and straw and dressed in bright clothes. This doll is called ‘Maslenitsa’, and it symbolizes the cold and severe winter. By burning ‘Maslenitsa’, people say goodbye to winter and greet the warmth of spring. Every day of Maslenitsa holds great significance. On Monday, people greet the holiday with games such as sledding, snowballs, riding on swings and so on. Russians believe that the happiness and joy which they feel during this day will accompany them throughout a year. On Tuesday people play games and bake pancakes which are called ‘blini’. Blini are the most popular food which is prepared specially for this holiday. These pancakes have a round form and symbolize the sun and warmth. On Wednesday people usually visit their friends and relatives and treat each other to blini. On Thursday, by tradition, people try to drive away winter by riding on horses around the village or around the places they live. Friday is usually called ‘Mothers-in-law evenings’, because sons-in-law come to visit their mothers-in-law. On merry Saturday, everyone goes to visit their relatives.

Everyone drinks and eats as much as they want and play different games. Sunday is the last day of the holiday. It is also called the Sunday of forgiveness because on this day everyone asks forgiveness from relatives and friends for offences and mistakes committed against them. The most appropriate answer is ‘God will forgive’. After that, people usually sing songs, dance and at the end of the day they burn the doll. Maslenitsa is also considered to be a family holiday because spring is a symbol of new life. People who marry during this time are considered to be very strong and happy couples who will give have many children. During Maslenitsa some people even ‘punish’ those who have not married by throwing them into snow.

Here is a video on Maslenitsa:

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