Maslenitsa is a traditional Russian holiday marking the end of winter that dates back to pagan times
Performers entertain people while they celebrate Maslenitsa, or Pancake week at Manezhnaya Square, near Red Square in Moscow
© AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
Maslenitsa is an Eastern Slavic religious and folk holiday. It’s celebrated the seventh week before Russian Orthodox Easter. Maslenitsa is the last week before the onset of Great Lent. During this week, meat is already forbidden to Orthodox Christians, but milk, cheese and other dairy products are still permitted. For Maslenitsa Russians usually have pancakes (or blinis), which are made of the ingredients still permitted by the Orthodox tradition. This year the festival started in Russia on February 20 and will last until February 26.