What does modern Maslenitsa differ from that in what was celebrated in the XVIII-XIX centuries?
In Russia always celebrated Maslenitsa with special scope, not for nothing there was a saying: “ Though from itself to put everything, and to carry out Maslenitsa “. But Pancake week festivities and entertainments which were carried out earlier considerably differed from modern.
One of names of Pancake week entertainments was “ festivities under mountains “. And it is not casual, driving from ice slopes was considered as the main Pancake week entertainment. Enormous mountains (up to 12 - 14 meters high) which especially for it were under construction, became the centers of festivities and already around them arose fairs, a swing, roundabouts and buffooneries were put, various amusements were carried out.
Mountains were under construction in all cities and large villages, money from treasury for this purpose was sometimes released, but their construction is more often merchants and balaganshchik or inhabitants by sharing the cost paid. As a rule, mountains built parno, against each other, so that slopes from them went in parallel. Often these impressive constructions got married turrets or arbors over platforms with which descent began. And length of the filled-in descent could make 100 - 140 meters, was where to disperse.
The foreigners visiting in the winter Russia left many descriptions of drivings from ice slopes, they made such strong impression on them. Dane P. von Hawen seeing this entertainment in St. Petersburg at the beginning of the 18th century wrote that it “ it seems to foreign observers more dangerous, than cheerful “. He noted that ride “ with approach of Maslenitsa there all week without a break, from morning to late evening, many people of both floors “. The Dane noticed also one important detail - all estates together rode: “ This amusement so is pleasant to the people, as simple women, and young people of the best state participate in it “.
Did not avoid to drive from the mountain and the Russian monarchs. Peter I for this purpose could take seat also in the regular sledge, and Elizabeth Petrovna preferred specially made decorated sledge. In youth liked to amuse itself primordially Russian entertainment also Catherine II.
The detailed description of drivings from mountains and even features of their construction was left by P. P. Svinyin who created the detailed St. Petersburg guide in the second half of the 19th century. He noted that mountains were decorated with flags, fir-trees, and sometimes and wooden sculptures. The order of their construction was strictly kept by police which observance of security measures interested: reliability of a construction, existence of a handrail and protections, lack of the sticking-out nails, etc. of
By the way, drunk on mountains did not let. It was not forbidden to drink, but only on the earth, and Russians always liked to drink. In the middle of the 17th century Englishman S. Collins wrote: “ During the Maslenitsa, before the Lent, Russians indulge in any amusements with uncontrollability and last week before a post drink very much as though they are fated to drink last time on the century “.
Drivings during Maslenitsa daily could continue till the dead of night for what mountains lit with lamps. Svinyin in “ Dostopamyatnostyakh of St. Petersburg “ described it very colourfully: “ Reflection of this mass of multi-colored fires in snow, being stirred with shadows, represents an unusual show “. Isn`t that so, reminds modern “ zavlekukh “ for tourists.
For driving from mountains did small sledge, but many preferred to ride skins, bast mats and even in big baskets. Special chic was considered to move down from the mountain standing, but seldom who managed it. Guys tried to appear on the mountain with own graceful sledge, in this case there was an opportunity to invite to drive girls. Sledge became such sizes that the girl could sit down only to the guy on knees. After safe rolling down the girl had to award the owner of the sledge with a kiss.
Was going to look at the people riding weight. It is natural that near mountains there was an active trade. In crowd messengers hot sbitnya and tea scurried about, managing to adapt to itself for a back samovars. Here traded in various sweets candied by fruit, nuts, gingerbreads, pies and pancakes which baked on the place or brought from the next taverns. For entertainment of public there were swing and roundabouts, mass of balaganchik in which played small comedies or sketches, often frivolous contents. Jugglers and acrobats acted. Invited the people small doll teatrik which main hero was a Parsley. Performances of the trained animals enjoyed wide popularity.
Driving on horse sledge was Pancake week entertainment, the second for popularity. Everything who had horse departures, did not refuse to themselves pleasure to sweep with a breeze on streets in sledge with bells and hand bells. It was a high time to flaunt the stately trotters decorated with sledge with carpets and bear skins or the light racing sledge in which governed standing.
Who had no sledge, could always employ a suitable team. The choice was broad: from dashing city carriers with elegant sledge for people with prosperity, to usual country rozvalny, decorated by multi-colored tapes and paper with flowers. Often on streets the whole cavalcades of sledge in which there were musicians and singers followed. And on ice of the frozen rivers the horse races which always were bringing together the mass of fans were arranged.
There is a lot of pleasure and delivered to participants and the audience capture of snow fortress. Feature was the fact that stormed fortress on horses. Usually the fortress or the snow town built on river ice. Defenders defended with snowballs, quilted horses rods, pushed away brooms. It was only forbidden to quilt horses on eyes and lips, and also to beat with sticks or to throw into them big lumps of snow. Forwards sought to rush into fortress through gate or to break one of walls which specially became thinner.
In some cases in the center of the town did a special ice-hole. First rushed into the town had to plunge into it, having confirmed these the bravery. After it he was celebrated as the winner.
At modern celebrations of Maslenitsa sometimes too arrange storm of snow towns, but forwards act in “ pedestrian order “. It is clear, that such staginess as at horse attacks, this cheerful action does not represent any more.
Which - where today also the fisticuffs which were indispensable attribute of Pancake week festivities revive. But hardly they will be widely adopted.
There were very peculiar Pancake week ceremonies connected with newlyweds earlier. They were usually observed in villages and small towns, and in the large cities - in the areas occupied by a commonalty. Celebrated a wedding at winter before Maslenitsa were obliged to go in the decorated sledge having embraced, showing a consent in a family and to kiss according to the first requirement. There was even a special introduction:
“ The Husband, we will be pardoned today,
But do not kiss me on the street,
do not kiss me in an outer entrance hall - Kiss
on Maslena in sledge! “
By the way, those who reached age of consent, but did not hurry to marry, for Maslenitsa subjected to a peculiar comic punishment. To them put on a collar or a special block from which they had to pay off with wine, money or sweets.
Beautiful Pancake week traditions and ceremonies in Russia there was much. It is natural what separate of them will not manage to be revived any more. Modern Maslenitsa “ acquires “ the new traditions corresponding to realities of our days. But the main thing - it remains same cheerful and fervent, as well as a century ago.