Learn More About This Classic Eastern European Holiday
As the snow beings to thaw and we begin to experience the first signs of spring, many families across Ukraine, Russia, Eastern Europe and abroad are preparing to celebrate the traditional festival of Maslyana–touted as the most joyous time of year for many Slavic peoples. They’ll don ceremonial garments, sing and dance to folk songs, and enjoy a bountiful banquet of traditional, Old Worlddelicacies.
The Celebration of Rebirth and Renewal
Maslyana (also known as Maslenitsa in Russian or Kolodiy in Old Ukrainian) celebrates the coming of the spring season and marks the beginning of a new life cycle. Since around the Middle Ages, Maslyanahas also coincided with the coming of Lent – the 40-day period prior to Easter where Christians atone for their sins in order to start anew.
During the week-long festivities, people participate in a variety of fun activities, such as sledding, folk dancing, ice swimming and live theatre performances. Each also day has its own, unique and special meaning. There’s a day dedicated just to children. Another one is reserved specially for newlyweds. There’s even one day, ‘Forgiveness Sunday’, that’s devoted to pardoning all those who have wronged you during the past year.
As you can imagine, all these goings-on can really stimulate the appetite. Customary foods include pancakes, crepes and perogies, all of which have a crescent or rounded shape to represent the sun and the moon – both of which have long been considered symbols of divine protection.
How to Prepare Perogies & Pelmeni for a Traditional Maslyana Meal
Traditional Varenyky (the Ukrainian name for perogies) are best served simple. The most common way to prepare these dumplings is by boiling them in a large pot of ample water for 3 to 5 minutes until they all float to the surface. Simply drain and top with butter or sour cream, as well as diced bacon, pork fat or any other fried/cured meat for an authentic Old World finish. You can also serve sweet perogies stuffed with cherries or farmers cheese for a dessert your holiday guests are sure to love.
As you, your family and your friends begin your Maslyana celebrations, we at Grandma’s Perogies wish you a week of joy, merriment and prosperity. From our families to yours, have a joyous Maslyana, Kolodiy orMaslenitsa!