March 9th 2019

By Joanna Magoufakis

Photos by: Juliya Chystaya

Russkaya Cappella always take part in the Maslenitsa Celebrations of the Russian Orthodox School in Glasgow. It is a joyful event that involves singing, dancing, playing games and eating pancakes, but what exactly is Maslenitsa?


Maslenitsa has its origins in a Pagan tradition that involved saying farewell to Winter and welcome to Spring. However, Maslenitsa developed over time and has been transformed into an Orthodox Christian celebration. This is because Maslenitsa takes place before Great Lent. In the Orthodox Church, the faithful give up eating meat, fish, eggs and dairy products during Lent and spend more time praying and giving alms. Maslenitsa, is the last week before Lent, where milk, eggs and dairy products are still allowed. The week before Maslenitsa, the faithful have already given up meat, so as you can see, this is a gradual process that eventually leads to a humble vegan diet.


Here in Scotland, the Russian Orthodox School keeps this tradition alive for the community by dedicating a day to mark this tradition. In Russia, the celebrations last for a whole week, with different activities taking place on each day.


The Kelvin College East End Campus, where the Russian Orthodox School meets on a Saturday, was vibrantly decorated, and a lot of traditional items were displayed. Visitors could look at Khokhloma, which is a traditional way to decorate wooden items such as cups, plates and spoons. Patterns often include flowers and the colours black, gold and red. There were Rushnyk (slavic embroidered cloths) and ofcourse Russian shawls.


People were dressed in national costumes and cheerful traditional music was playing in the background. The children performed folk songs traditionally sung during Maslenitsa, and were assisted by some singers from Russkaya Cappella. The children also performed traditional dances. The skill they showed greatly impressed the audience. We then played games and enjoyed a variety of pancakes and desserts.


Russkaya Cappella are very happy to have the opportunity to show their support to the children of the Russian Orthodox School, by assisting them in activities related to music. We are certain that a new generation of great singers is in the making.