The V Festival Maslenitsa (Shrove-tide) (23 February 2009 - 01 March 2009)
Maslenitsa, or Pancake Week, one of Russia‘s most traditional festivals, was celebrated in style in the country‘s pre-Revolutionary capital. Maslenitsa festivities entered every home and were welcomed by every family. The most august figures and officials, the intelligentsia and the city‘s nobles all took part in the revelry. Throughout Maslenitsa, Tsaritsino Meadow and the Admiralty Gardens played host to folk celebrations, and in the city‘s palaces and mansions there were parties and masked balls, with theatre playbills listing the finest productions.
Several years ago the Mariinsky Theatre returned to the wonderful tradition of Maslenitsa festivities. The Festival programme invariably includes wonderful productions, among them works based on fairy-tales as well as interesting vocal and instrumental programmes. Continuing the tradition of open-to-all celebrations established by the Imperial Theatres for Maslenitsa, the Mariinsky Theatre will be running a series of charity concerts. The Mariinsky Theatre and the University of St Petersburg have revived the ancient Russian tradition of Pancake Week, organising student balls for several years now, to bid farewell to winter. The University programme includes parties, dancing, music (with Mariinsky Theatre performers), pancakes, fireworks and, of course, the burning of the straw scarecrow of Maslenitsa.