It's Maslenitsa Week in Moscow

PHOTO by Vladimir Smirnov / TASS
Maslenitsa, the folk festival often referred to as pancake week that takes place the week before Easter, will be one of the main events this weekend in the capital

Fun festivities and tonnes of hot pancakes await visitors.

The city’s festival gives Muscovites the chance to start celebrating the end of winter in mid-February. The main celebrations will take place near Tverskaya Square, Manezh Square and Novy Arbat Street. In total, the city centre will have 13 venues featuring entertainment and master classes.

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Tverskaya Square will become a symbol of the farewell to winter and the welcoming of spring. Along with the traditional Maslenitsa decorations, pavilions will offer Muscovites the chance to make straw dolls, take part in cooking classes, learn about the traditions of Russian Maslenitsa and play the folk game "Wake the Bear." The rules of the game will only be made known on site but the organisers promise that it does not involve a real bear, which is a pity.

At the beginning of Tverskoy Boulevard, kolobok ball competitions will be held. During the game, kids will need to hit a kolobok with a broom into the goals. There will also be a glowing, hundred-metre-long tunnel that will make a spectacular background for photos. Novopushkinsky Park will have a children’s pancake school and adults will be able to learn how to cook mozzarella and prepare meals with cheese fillings.

Further down the boulevard near the monument to Yesenin, cheese races will be held every day, during which 1.5-metre-wide cheese wheels are rolled along. For children, workshops on sculpting and painting Dymkovo toys will be organised.

Those who are not yet ready to say goodbye to winter can visit Revolution Square. A large ice palace will be there with winter guards standing by. Muscovites will be able to practice their strength and agility in fun fistfights, tug of war, ice hockey with turnips and other Russian games.

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The Book Market on Novy Arbat Street will turn into a centre for contemporary art for the next few days. A costume school will be there and visitors will be able to learn how to decorate clothing and make accessories. Every evening, the Maslenitsa Carnival procession will set off from here.

This venue will also feature Maslenitsa figures decorated by Moscow designers and artists, as well as interactive art objects in the form of horses. Visitors can talk to and take selfies with two-metre-tall figures of such cultural figures as Malevich, Kandinsky, Lentulov and Stepanova.