Friday, March 1, 2013

The Week of Shrovetide (Part1)

   In Russia Shrovetide celebration began and lasts for a week in March. This holiday was recently revived and people are trying to re-create old traditions of a Pancakes week. I love celebrating Shrovetide, as the coming of spring and a farewell to a long and cold winter.

Pictures 'Winter' and 'Summer' by Russian artists Klimenko and Nagornaya

Everyone like to go to the nearest park and to watch a straw man burning, to eat pancakes with sour cream or caviar (for every budget). I love celebrating spring arrival and a farewell to winter in my garden. 
Since ancient times festivals were timed to the day of the Vernal Equinox (March, 20-21). The New Year had began. In Egypt, people celebrated the fertility goddess Isis, in Greece the people honored the goddess Cora, Demeter and Athena. The celebrations in honor of the goddess Minerva in Rome were held for five days after the Equinox.
With the adoption of Christianity in Europe, the pagan holidays were filled with new content, keeping however a lot of archaic features. In pagan Russia a Shrovetide week began in the Vernal Equinox, and was the heir of an older festival associated with the cult of spring bear

 Picture 'The Sorcerers' by Russian artist Panasenko

As for a pancake that was the symbol of the sun and life, it became the main Shrovetide week delicacy.

How is the Shrovetide Week celebrated in your country?

to be continued....


  1. We eat pea soup and pancakes and go to the sledding hill and have fun! Happy weekend, Nadezda!

  2. Good morning Nadezda!Very interesting post!!We eat something like pancakes,but we call them loukoumades!I have eat blin with sour cream and caviar,in my visits in Moscow!Wishing you a lovely weekend and a happy new month!

  3. Pancakes with caviar and sour cream sounds wonderful!! Not sure I can afford to buy caviar here in London, but in Norway it doesn't cost that much. We also have 'poor mans caviar' in Norway which I very much like, it's smoked cod roe - not for everyone's taste, I think that's something you need to have eaten from childhood, an aqquired taste, but I love it!

    Here in London I eat pancakes with blueberries and sugar, but British people serve it with lemon juice. Ugh!

  4. Hello - thanks for a wonderful post about Halloween.
    The pancakes looks great ..... I did not know that pandepaker was a symbol of the sun and life.
    I have a couple of Russian icons.
    We had carnival here in Denmark on 11th February.
    It is celebrated by children dressed - and beats the cat of the barrel. Many children go around singing ..... Halloween is my name, buns I want. If I get no buns, I make trouble.
    Link: - hope you can translate it.
    Wish you a good weekend :) Hugs Hanne Bente

  5. Mostly Shrove Tuesday is celebration held on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. In some places, Mardi Gras celebrations or parades are held. The most famous one is in New Orleans. It is also sometimes called Fat Tuesday. Pancakes are traditional food on this day and many churches have Shrove Tuesday Pancake suppers. In Germany, Fasching is celebrated and doughnuts are the traditional food.
    Happy weekend, Nadezda!

  6. Dear Nadezda,
    I enjoyed reading this post.
    Being a Catholic I have been in Lent for a few weeks now so no meat on Friday and fasting during the week.
    For us pancake day was special - it was the only day that the family ate pancakes. My mother would make them and pile them up on a plate for us to eat. We would take one, put sugar on it, sprinkle some lemon juice, then roll it up, put more sugar on it and more lemon juice - and then eat it.
    I know it is not for everyone's taste but I love it!
    I maintain this tradition and I look forward to 'Pancake Day' . . .

  7. Nadezda loved, greet you warmly!
    Another fantastic and very interesting post.
    Surprised me pancakes with caviar.
    I love pancakes.
    I did not eat real caviar. I suppose it was the ersatz.
    I send greetings.

  8. Hi Nadezda, interesting post, this must be a nice celebration for you to have each year. We love pancakes sprinkled with sugar and drizzled with lemon juice.

  9. Outlaw gardener described our tradition very well. We have pancake suppers at our church, but only with syrup and butter. No caviar or sour cream. Interesting that everyone eats their pancakes just a little differently.

  10. Hi Nadezda
    Loved the first set of paintings! In Canada, it's marked as Shrove Tuesday on calendars but not everyone celebrates.
    We used to serve pancakes for dinner on that day when the kids were small. They liked theirs best with maple syrup but my European parents eat pancakes with jam and sour cream!

  11. Hi Nadezda, Interesting post! There is a Panacake Day or Shrove Tuesday in February here. Most people are happy to have the excuse of the holiday to eat pancakes at mealtime. Our favourite way to serve them are with bacon and maple syrup.

  12. Love this post, beautiful art. I've not heard of this holiday and I can't eat pancakes but I do celebrate spring in my garden!

  13. This sounds like a lovely celebration. Thank you for sharing the history...sounds like a beautiful way to ring in spring.

    1. Thank you, Michelle, we wait for spring!

  14. Good morning Nadezda !We don't eat pancakes here but something similar ,like this but in round shape with honey and cinnamon !We call them "loukoumades ". Thank you for this interesting post !Have a nice month !

  15. That is fasinating Nadezda, thank you for writing all about your celebration. I love pancakes. We have a pancake day here just before lent, though I must say I make them all year round as we love them lol

  16. This is the very first time I heard of anything like this, there are no similar celebrations around here. It does sound very interesting and fun. Saying goodbye to winter and welcoming spring, I think everyone would want to celebrate that. Looking forward to your next post.

  17. Just looked up about 'shrove' traditions. Where we live I think carnival is a little bit similar but there's no pancakes involved;-) In the town I live we do it all a bit differently though. There are few places where carnival is not held just before lent but when lent is halfway through. So next weekend is carnival weekend here(half lent) and there are several parades in town then. When the kids were still younger they participated in the children's parade. There have been years that it snowed on that day, can you believe that? But now that they are older it's just something that passes by. We don't really "celebrate" carnival. Sometimes we do go see the main parade on sundays but that's been years ago now since the last years it's always been so cold I didn't feel like standing to watch dressed up people pass by ;-)

  18. Happy Shrovetide Nadezda girl !
    We had pancake Tuesday back in early February and I think it is tide to New Orlean's "Fat Tuesday" some how .. I remember "Karnival" celebrated in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany .. when we lived there .. it was almost like Halloween for me because people got dressed in costumes and partied a lot! haha
    These are very interesting traditions .. great post to see what other nations celebrate !
    Joy : )

  19. It's a very interesting story Nadeza and overhere we eat pancakes with a dark carmelized suger sirop or powder sugar. Overhere spring is mentioned to start at the 21 of march. No celebration overhere only in my little garden the place where I feel comfortable.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  20. Hello Nadezda,
    I enjoyed reading your very interesting post. I love the paintings depicting Winter and Summer.....really beautiful.
    Pancake Day is celebrated here, by Christians,the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. They are traditionally topped with lemon juice and sprinkled with sugar.
    It is good to catch up with your posts. I liked the post about the little seeds under a blanket of snow.
    Happy days,

  21. I enjoyed very much to read your interesting story about Shrovetide celebration with beautiful pictures. We don't celebrate this in The Netherlands, but school children had spring holidays last week the grandchildren stayed with us I baked pancakes.

    1. Janneke, Karen, Holley, Astrid, Satu, Jennifer, Dimi, Olimpia, Marijke, Betty, Lucia, Kirk, Peter, Hanne Bente, Helene, Greenfingers, Marian and Joy!
      I enjoyed reading that the tradition to celebrate the coming of Spring is worldwide. I'd like to sum up your comments, which I appreciate very much!
      The people cook and eat pancakes with:
      sour cream and sugar
      smoked cod roe,
      blueberries and sugar,
      sugar and lemon juice,
      maple syrup and sugar,
      caramelized sugar syrup and powder sugar,
      honey and cinnamon
      Also you could cook loukoumades, or buns, or doughnuts, go to a parade or carnival, beat a cat (artificial :)), singing a song!
      Interestingly, although all you, my friends, live in different countries, the tradition to meet the coming of spring with pancakes and various additives to them persists from ancient times to the present days.
      Thank you and see you on the post, part 2!

  22. I had never heard of the Shrovetide celebration before. Thank you for such an interestnig post!!!

  23. Wow your pancakes look amazing!! I sure hope it is the end of the cold weather : )

    1. Of course, pancakes are wonderful in cold winter, thank you, Anna!

  24. I didn't know this. I think the pancakes look delicious. What a nice way to celebrate spring's arrival. I hope you can get out and enjoy the garden soon.

  25. Thanks for sharing the history of this wonderful celebration with us Nadezda! I don't know about you but I wish I could celebrate EVERYTHING with pancakes :)

    1. Rosemary, pancakes are nice for everyday eating, for breakfast for example. Burt some creative housewives make a cake of pancakes. Thank you!


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