Besides International Women’s Day, the Ukrainians also start to celebrate Masnytsia – the traditional Slavic holiday that symbolizes the farewell to winter and the welcoming of spring.
On Sunday before the holiday, it is used to visit friends and invite them to a visit. The holiday itself starts on Monday and it is marked by people’s celebrations and the unchanged attribute mlyntsi (pancakes) – unsavory, sweet, with filling, raised and so on.
The date of the celebration of Masnytsia changes every year and depends on the date of celebration of Easter. This year it is celebrated from March 8 until March 14.
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 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 fist fight.
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 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 which impersonated Maslyana.