From February 24 to March 1, Ukrainians will celebrate Masnytsia, or Kolodiy, a traditional Slavic holiday that symbolizes the end of winters and greeting the spring.
Traditions of this holiday go back to the pagan past. It is believed to have originated on the territory of our country in pre-Christian times, somewhere since the 4th century BC. Even until now, the church has not been able to adapt it to its calendar and give it a religious pretext.
Wide Maslyana falls for different days but traditionally is it marked during the week before the Great Lent. To find out when to celebrate it, you need to take 48 days from Easter (April 19 in 2020) to Great Lent and another week before the start of the lent.
This way, we know the dates - February 24 - March 1.
Traditions and customs
In the first three days, you can do housework, and in the following ones, you cannot.
Every day of Maslyana has its meaning and purpose.
The Monday of the holiday week used to be called “a meeting.” From ancient times, people would go visiting, there were parties and sleighing. It was believed that if you stayed at home on this day, you would bury your household.
On Tuesday, everyone would sing joyful songs and go sleighing. On this day, dressed up people would go from home to home and for payment in the form of pancakes would allow you to tie a ribbon to their brooms. They would take away all the illnesses and unhappiness from your home on these brooms.
Wednesday was called “yummy,” all the mistresses cooked a lot of delicious food and put on a richly set table. Mothers-in-law would traditionally invite their sons-in-law and treated to pancakes. People believed that if a man chose pancakes or varenyky with salty filling, it meant he had a stubborn character. And if he chose sweet filling, he would treat his wife tenderly and gently.
Thursday is the day people would have a lot of fun. Families would hold various competitions, go sleighing and build snow castles. Men would compete in a fistfight.
On Friday sons-in-law treated mothers-in-law with pancakes, after which they took them for a ride around the village or town.
Saturday was called “sisters-in-law gatherings.” Daughters-in-law would invite sisters-in-law to eat pancakes.
Shrove Sunday or forgiveness Sunday is the last day of a festive week. On this day, people would ask relatives and close ones for forgiveness for past offenses. They would prepare varenyky with cottage cheese, held festivities. Also, people gathered on the main square to burn a straw puppet. This ritual meant saying goodbye to winter until the next year. The straw puppet was a big and scary doll that impersonated Maslyana.
There are several restrictions on Maslyana. Some of them are strict, some are mild:
- All week one is not to eat meat, giving preference to fish and milk.
- One must not get angry and swear and quarrel.
- One must keep the house clean.
- Earlier, it was not recommended to spend the holiday week at home, ignoring festivals and gatherings.
Festive table and fortunetelling
Except for festivities, on Maslyana Sunday it was common to cook pampushkas, buns and syrnyky. However, the main dish of Maslyana is pancakes which symbolize the sun and new life. The pancakes can be different: stale, sweet, stuffed, yeasty, etc. On the last day of Maslyana, eggs have to be on the table.
On Kolodiy, people also cooked meat jelly from pork, chicken or mutton. Girls used the bones for fortunetelling. They threw bones from the threshold to the gates. If the bone reaches the gates – the girl will be healthy all year and if it flew out of the gates – she will get married.