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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

How to Celebrate Maslenitsa

Monday: Greeting Day



On the first day of Maslenitsa, you are supposed to have built your straw effigy of winter and whipped up your first batch of blini (don't be discouraged if the first one gets balled up: It's a fine old Russian tradition). A husband's parents traditionally visit the wife's parents, where the first blini are sampled with caviar, butter, sour cream, herring, smoked fish, jam and any other delicacies you can think of -- all washed down with plenty of mead, beer and vodka.

Tuesday: Merriment Day



Today, the fairs, games, sleigh rides and theatrical acts begin and young singles get to misbehave. If you are unmarried, go out and flirt outrageously (on this day even public displays of affection are acceptable). But note that you may be expected to get married right after Easter.

Wednesday: Sweet-Tooth Day



On this day the wife's mother should invite all her sons-in-law for blini, and you are officially encouraged to eat till you burst. At the street fairs, the food and drink booths open, and entertainers play out sketches of kindly mothers-in-law cooking for their sons-in-law (often enacted by bears dressed in women's clothing).

Thursday: Lavish Day



Don't go to work (tell your boss that even house serfs get the day off). Today the fistfights begin: either team-against-team or one-on-one. All young men should get into a good fight (no hitting below the belt), and all young women should cheer them on. Be sure to eat several dozen blini washed down with beer, mead or vodka.

Friday: Mother-in-Law Parties



The wife's mother should send to her son-in-law a good pancake pan and ladle; the wife's father should send oil, butter and flour. The son-in-law then invites his in-laws and treats them lavishly; if he doesn't, he can count on a year of interfamily warfare.

Saturday: Daughter-in-Law Parties



The wife should invite her husband's sister -- in fact, all her husband's family -- and show off her blini-making skills and generosity (no skimping on caviar).

Sunday: Forgiveness Sunday



On the last day of Maslenitsa, by tradition you first honor your pagan ancestors by burning the effigy of winter and spreading the ashes on your fields or dacha garden to guarantee a good crop in the coming year. Then you honor your Christian faith by asking forgiveness of all your family and friends. They will answer: I forgive you, and God will forgive you. Try to pack in at least another dozen blini with one kilo of sour cream, washed down with a liter of vodka.

Eat, drink and be merry -- for the Lenten Fast begins Monday morning.