March 3, 2010 at 12:33 pm (Uncategorized)

This weekend was really busy because it was the big Russian holiday called Maselnitsya, which is similar to Mardi Gras.  It is the Russian day to say goodbye to winter and welcome in Lent.  I understand the part about welcoming lent, but winter isn’t going anywhere for quite awhile.  But it is a very fun holiday.  They eat bleenie (pancackes) all week long because it represents the sun.

On Saturday we went to a concert for Macelnitsya.  We sat at tables and ate, while watching (and participating in) folk dances, songs, games, and such.  The Russian actors and actresses would pull people from the audience to participate in these activities and it was a lot of fun.  I went up for a game where everyone had to read a piece of paper with a holiday saying on it.  Courtney also went up, and she went before me.  However, when the lady with the microphone got up to me she wouldn’t let me read mine because she assumed I didn’t understand it, so she read it for me.  Everyone in the room knew we were American.  I was really sad because I had practiced and memorized mine so I wouldn’t look dumb in front of all the Russians, but then she didn’t let me read it!!  But later I got to dance, so that was fun at least.  One Russian dancer really liked Emily because he always pulled her up to dance.  A man dressed in a bear costume sat on Erin, and Jeff had to dance with a man cross-dressing as a voluptuous Russian babushka, who flipped him.  Emily and I sat next to two Russian women who were celebrating a birthday.  They didn’t talk to us very much, but they did like to make toasts for us.  They wanted us to find good husbands.

Sunday was the actual Macelnitsya day, so we went to Suzdal for the celebrations.  It was so much fun because our whole group went and met up some of Suzanne’s Russian friends.  We danced and ate all day long in the freezing cold.  There were folk bands and lots of market stalls.  We drank lots of mead, tea, and of course vodka.  The Russian men in our group kept disappearing and coming back with more vodka.  All the Americans were pretty smart about it and managed to drink enough straight vodka to not look like wimps, but without getting really drunk.  In fact one Russian ended up puking, but all of the Americans were sober by the time we needed to be.  I never got drunk at all, which was good. I was proud of us for holding our own with real Russians.  Sadly, we missed the burning of the witch.  It is a Macelnitsya tradition to burn a giant straw witch, who represents winter.


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