Celebrations of Mardi Gras/Carnival/Maslenitsa

It is the celebration that takes place before the beginning of the Lenten season.
Carnival Time presentation here comes to you from Maria de Carmen Colussa in Argentina. Carnival in 2013 is Feb. 11 and 12.

Take a look at the children celebrating Danish Carnical Fastelaven. [Stefan Nielsen, Denmark]

Tatyana Chernaya from Moscow, Russia shares Maslentsa. This is the Festival at school; below see home made blini.
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Eastern Orthodox Easter comes at a different time. So also do the pre-lent festivals. In Russia, they are also a 'goodby to winter and a welcome to spring. Below is a short description of the activities from Larisa in Moscow.

On Monday, March 11, Maslenitsa was welcomed. On that day people made the straw-stuffed figure of Winter, dressed it in old women’s clothing and singing carried it on sleigh around the village. Then the figure was put onto snow-covered slope that people used for tobogganing, which was considered not just fun, but the ancient rite, because it was thought that the one who came down the hill more than once was likely to have tall flax in summer
Tuesday was called “zaigrysh” (game day). From that day on the whole village started all sorts of activities: sleigh riding, folk festivals, skomorokh (traveling actors) and puppet shows. The streets were full of people in carnival costumes and masks, who visited homes of their neighbors and organized impromptu concerts. Large companies rode troikas and simple sleighs.
Wednesday - gourmand – opened feasts in houses with blini and other dishes. Each household had tables with delicious food, baked pancakes, and brewed beer. Tents selling all kinds of food appeared everywhere. They sold hot sbiten (drinks from water, honey and spices), nuts, honey gingerbreads and poured tea from boiling samovars.

How the blini are made. (Click arrows to advance.)