This year, 22 parks under the Moscow Department of Culture will host Maslenitsa festivities on 18 February. In most parks, the events will take place from 1 pm to 7 pm. People will be able to participate in free workshops, taste unusual coloured pancakes, play tug-of-war or climb the traditional Maslenitsa pole. In certain parks –Liazonovsky, Goncharovsky, Babushkinsky, Perovsky, 50-letiya Oktyabrya, Fili and Krasnaya Presnya parks, and the Hermitage Garden and Vorontsovo Estate as well – at the end of everything there will be the traditional burning of a Maslenitsa effigy.
On 17 and 18 February, Gorky Park will host the Solntsepyok festival, a large-scale fair, where visitors will be able to purchase décor units, visit a farmers’ market and taste sweet-smelling blinis (pancakes). Pushkinskaya Embankment will become the festival’s central venue. The city will install a stage for musicians to perform, and a separate stand for festival hosts. To warm up after long walks, festival goers will be able to visit the games area. There, they will be able to try their hand at tug-of-war and take unusual selfies in the curved mirror zone. The list of festivities will also include the festival’s main rite, the Maslenitsa effigy burning.
At Hermitage Garden, people will be able to enjoy sports games, such as tug-of-war and a hobby horse race. They will also be able to participate in a traditional Russian folk game – making braids for Maslenitsa. In this game, two teams compete in making braids out of colourful ribbons. There will also be circle dances and rides on a carousel that will be installed by 18 February. The festivities will be held from1 pm to 7 pm.
At Tsaritsyno Museum Reserve, festival goers will be entertained by skomorokhs (traditional carnival characters), as well as characters from popular fairy tales and cartoons. Visitors will be able to taste pancakes with various fillings, and also compete in dancing Yablochko and Barynya in a Russian folk dance contest.
At Tagansky Park, festivities will be held in a form of a fun folk quest game. Visitors will be divided into teams that will compete in various sports and intellectual contests. Each team is to make its own Maslenitsa effigy and remember Maslenitsa-themed traditional Russian songs, ditties, couplets and nursery rhymes. The festivities will run from 1 pm to 7 pm, and will conclude with a performance given by folk ensembles.
At Fili Park, people will be able to enjoy a quest game divided into seven stages, according to the seven days of the Maslenitsa week. The quest will start at 1.10 pm; the teams will be assembled by animators dressed as skomorokhs. During the quest, visitors will solve Maslenitsa-themed riddles, take part in tug-of-war, tangle up in circle dances and compete in pancake-themed contests. Participation is free. Festival goers will also be able to take part in a pancake show: between 1 pm and 6 pm, there will be a workshop on how to make pancakes, while afterwards visitors will be able to enjoy free pancakes plus a free tea party. The festivities will start at 1 pm and conclude with a disco at 7 pm.
From 1 pm to 7 pm, visitors at Park Pobedy on Poklonnaya Gora will be able to enjoy a unique Maslenitsa-themed photo zone installed at park’s main square. It will be designed to look like a room at a traditional Russian izba (hut) complete with a Russian stove, wooden benches, shelves and traditional folk costumes that visitors will be able to try on and take pictures in. Those into cooking will be able to participate in a free workshop on making pancakes using Old Russian recipes.
On 18 February, Kuzminki Park goers will be able to participate in workshops on creating lubok prints (Russian popular prints). Between 1 pm and 7 pm, the park will host a street play based on The Twelve Months tale, and a Russian folk group concert as well. During the celebration, festival goers will also welcome spring by dancing round a maypole.
Krasnaya Presnya Park will host a coloured pancake festival. Visitors will be able to taste pancakes and learn the secrets on how best to make them. At Goncharovsky Park, visitors will get to know about new unusual pancake recipes, and also learn how to bake and decorate pryaniks (spice cakes) as well.
Maslenitsa is an ancient Slav event that dates back to pagan times and is still celebrated today. It is marked at the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Originally Maslenitsa marked vernal equinox, but, following the adoption of Christianity, Russians started celebrating it before Lent. Maslenitsa’s main food is blinis, or pancakes, symbolising the Sun in spring. This fun festival that marks the end of winter traditionally culminates in Maslenitsa effigy burning.
This year, Maslenitsa will be celebrated not only in city parks, but in the city centre as well. Between 9 and 18 February, the city will host its second Moscow Maslenitsa festival. At this event, people will be able to taste pancakes and learn how the end of winter was celebrated in the past, and which Maslenitsa traditions are still preserved in various Russian regions.
Parks that will host festivities marking the end of winter on 18 January:
Gorky Park (10 am–8 pm)
Zaryadye Park (1 pm–7 pm)
Sirenevy Garden Park (1 pm–7 pm)
Hermitage Garden (1 pm–7 pm)
Tagansky Park (1 pm–7 pm)
Izmailovsky Park (1 pm–7 pm)
Bauman Garden (1 pm–7 pm)
Perovsky Park (Noon–7 pm)
Babushkinsky Park (1 pm–7 pm)
Liazonovsky Park (1 pm–7 pm)
Park 50-letiya Oktyabrya (1 pm–7 pm)
Goncharovsky Park (1 pm–7 pm)
Sokolniki Park (1 pm–7 pm)
Fili Park (1 pm–7 pm)
Krasnaya Presnya Park (1 pm–7 pm)
Severnoye Tushino Park (1 pm–7 pm)
Tsaritsyno Museum Reserve (Noon–4 pm)
Kuzminki Park (1 pm–7 pm)
Sadovniki Park (1 pm–7 pm)
Park Pobedy on Poklonnaya Gora (1 pm–7 pm)
Krasnogvardeiskiye Prudy Park (1 pm–7 pm)
Vorontsovo Estate Park (1 pm–7 pm).