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One of the major ritual dishes of Russian Easter feast is paskha made of curds and shaped as a truncated pyramid, which symbolizes the Holy Sepulchre. A special sectional wooden mould was traditionally used for cooking this rich festive dish.


The festival of all festivals this is how Pascha was called in pre-revolutionary Russia. In those days it was a custom to make merry at fairs, entertain on see-saws and merry-go-rounds, pay visits, and give and take presents. Yet, the greatest pleasure after many days of Lent was certainly the Easter feast.


After the delicious pancake spree of Maslenitsa there comes the time for the Great Lent, the most significant and strictest fast for the Orthodox Christianity. Though the Great Lent has certain differences from the Western Lent, they both have the same purpose: to purify spirit and body. So, if you are about to do this, take occasion to regale yourself on wholesome vegetarian dishes of traditional Lenten Russian cuisine. Here are the recipes!


The tradition of Maslenitsa takes its roots in pagan times, when the Russian folks would bid farewell to stark winter and welcome long-awaited spring with mouth-watering pancakes, as round, yellow and hot, as the Sun itself, as well as with games, songs, dances and burning down the Winter effigy.


Marriage being sort of a turning point in life, wedding ceremony and everything related to it has always been accompanied with variety of traditions and beliefs, some rooted in hoary antiquity, some recently devised, but all targeted at bringing good luck to the newlyweds and averting misfortune from them.


February 23 is celebrated all over Russia as the Homeland Defenders Day. Now a public holiday, it was first established in 1922 as the Red Army Day and from 1949 to 1993 it was named Day of the Soviet Army and the Navy. Nowadays, however, it has gained a more general sense of the Mans Day, as a just match for the Womens Day following it on the calendar.


Wedding garments in Old Rus used to be very colourful, the red being the major wedding colour. White was considered the colour of sanctity and was not used in festivities. In many regions the bride had two wedding gowns: one to wear before the marriage service and the other to put on after it.


The stove was mans unfailing helpmate in the olden days. The so-called Russian stove is a brick masonry heater, which is perhaps the most efficient and environment-friendly of all wood burning fireplaces ever invented by man.


Usually a wedding lasted for three days, but sometimes could run for a whole week. During the Marriage church service the bridegroom was to hold the brides hand and not release it for a second. They brought bread wine with them, and the priest treated them with it for three times. After drinking it for the third time the bridegroom threw the wine goblet on to the floor and trampled down on it.


Sounds strange, doesn't it? For Russia it is quite OK. Comrade Lenin had no idea of the present he was giving to many generation ahead, when signing the decree On introducing the West European calendar in the Republic of Russia on January 24, 1918. He presented the Russians with the unique holiday of the Old New Year! How naive he was supposing that we would celebrate the New Year like all the rest, only by the Gregorian calendar!


Christmas in Russia strangely falls on January 7 and not on December 25 like in Europe and all Catholic and Protestant countries, since the Orthodox Church of Russia still adheres to the Julian calendar. Hence the confusing matter with the New Year, which precedes Russian Christmas instead of following it and, moreover, interferes with the traditional Christmas fast.


The key figure of the Russian New Year is certainly Ded Moroz (Father Frost, or Grandfather Frost, to be more exact) who arrives wearing a red caftan (old-style long garment) decorated with traditional embroidering and edged with snow-white fluff, a red cap, white mittens and felt boots.


From time immemorial wedding was one of the most interesting and sophisticated phenomena of festive, ritual and everyday life of the Russia people. Being at once a clerical, secular and pagan festival, wedding became a turning point in life of the newlyweds and an unforgettable event for the rest of community.


New Year is the main holiday of the year in Russia the most welcome and the most beautiful one, rich in history, fascinating traditions and amusing customs.


Folk performances of Petrushka and Vertep theatres have existed in Russia since the 18th century. However, puppet folk theatre, just like folk theatre in general underwent hard times: its traditions were lost in the 20th century and so today we have only reconstructions of those original folk performances.


Skomorokhi were the wandering minstrels of ancient Russia; they were singers, jesters, musicians, play performers, acrobats and animal trainers. But first of all skomorokhi were singers of freedom, who dared to ridicule the power, the clergy, and the rich and sympathized with the common people.


Vodka has long become quite an independent and self-sufficient personage of Russian culture: there are jokes and songs, books and research works on this hot subject. Majority of foreigners have an image of vodka imprinted in their minds as the foremost symbol of Russia (along with Bear and Martyoshka).


Dolls have always made an integral and vital part of any culture. The basic notions of human relations and complicated world order are passed on to a child with the help of all sorts of toys. As for traditional folk dolls, for centuries they were means of transmitting sacred generic values and knowledge to the following generation.


Banya is one of the most ancient traditions of the Russian people. Russian steam bath is a full-fledged philosophy, as well as invigorative pleasure compared to nothing and true relief for ones soul.


Tales can be divided into three groups by their subject-matter: fairytales with traces of mythology, tales about animals, who speak and act like people, and tales of manners.


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