Listen to Maslenitsa Festival report. First off, read a discussion of the topic related to the passage you are about to hear. Look up some words and guess what this passage will be about. You goal is to watch the passage for picking out specific information about the event that occurred in Moscow without understanding every word.

The festival Maslenitsa (Russian fertility-goddess) has been celebrated at the winter solstice from the time immemorial. Масленица is a doll that symbolizes winter; her straw effigy was carried through the village and taken to the fields, where it is pulled apart and burned or scattered as food for the new growth. Maslenitsa was always celebrated, there was even a saying «Хоть себя заложи, а масленицу проводи! », (“Indeed, no matter what, we swear to observe the Butter Week!”).

After 1917 for a long time this ritual was thought to disappear, only in 2002 it was rediscovered again as a community-based festivity. The contemporary traditions appear more varied than those of the past centuries. According to folk tradition, every day of Maslenitsa has its own name and meaning that emphasize ties of kinship and friendship. Therefore, there is a special and distinct program carried out in the Pancake Town for every day of the feast. By tradition, one must eat блины (Russian pancakes). Other traditional Maslenitsa activities are: the pole-climb and the storming of the snow fort, wrestling, good-natured group fist-fight, troika (sled) rides, and fun competitions, such as the pancake speed-eating contest.

On the last day of Maslenitsa –Прощеное Воскресенье (Forgiveness Sunday) -- all Orthodox Christians ask each other forgiveness to start the fast with the kind soul. Maslenitsa ends with Чистый понедельник (Clean Monday), the day which in the Orthodox canon is the first day of the Great Lent. As the old Russian saying goes, «Не все коту Масленица. Придет и Великий пост» (Every day is not Sunday).

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