Traditional Ukrainian Holidays: Maslyana 2016

Last week before the Great Lent, Ukraine, like many Eastern Slavic cultures, celebrates the old pagan holiday “Maslyana” (Maslenitsa (Russian), Kolodiy (old Ukrainian), Butter Week, or Pancake Week). The festive gatherings take place all over the country; they are associated with pagan cults of the Sun. The main dish of the week is mlyntsi — thin pancakes or crepes with various fillings and sauces.  It is believed that round yellow mlyntsi represent the Sun itself. Also the traditional dish is varenyky — dumplings with cottage cheese and butter.

This year the Maslyana falls on ​March 7—March 13.

The traditions of spring celebrations go deep into Slavic history. But just as before, these holidays are celebrated in a big way, with songs, dances and competitions. The most common pastimes were sledding, climbing the pole for the prize, ice swimming, courting among young people, and, finally, the burning of effigies. Main treats are pancakes and dumplings with various fillings. Pancakes are to be prepared every day, and in large quantities.

Every day of the celebration has its own meaning.  For example, Wednesday (March 9) is a guest day, especially for in-laws. Traditionally, on Wednesday mother-in-law invites her sons-in-law to eat mlyntsy. On Friday (March 11), sons-in-law invite mothers-in-law, vice versa.

On Saturday (March 12), women get together with their sisters-in-law and other female friends to gossip and eat. Sunday (March 13) is a “Forgiveness Day”, when you ask your family and friends for forgiveness and forgive them for all their wrongdoings.


What to do on Maslyana Week

If you want to do something other than make pancakes and stuff your face with them, there are lots of festivities on Masnytsya Week in Ukrainian cities.




UAmade Fest on Poshtova Square

6-8 March

Farewell to Winter and welcome to Spring on Poshtova Square! Eating, dancing, singing, festive gatherings and a lot of mlyntsy and varenyky. Welcome to a traditional fair!

Entrance - Free.


March 12-13
National Expocenter of Ukraine

Traditional fair, pancakes, varenyky and desserts made by Ukrainian chefs.

Entrance — 100 UAH for adults, 25 UAH for children


Kyiv Rus Park
March 12-13, starting 13:00

Traditional Ukrainian park Renaissance Faire-style invites you to celebrate Masnytsya in old Ukrainian way. Visitors have a chance to ride horses and see authentic Ukrainian costumes and celebrations.

Entrance – 165 UAH


Feofaniya Park

March 12-13, starting 12:00

Folk bands, traditional entertaintment, singing and dancing, animators for children.

Entrance – 10 UAH


Mamaeva Sloboda

March 12-13, starting 12:00

Mamaeva Sloboda revives old Ukrainian traditions instead of Russian ones. They host a Vareniki vs. Blini challenge to promote Ukrainian way to celebrate Kolodiy. Single guys and girls will have a small log chained to their hand — fun way to find a date!

Entrance – 50 UAH



February 27-28, Bozdosh Park

Uzhgorod hosts a Palachinta Festival (palachinta is a local name for pancakes). Various festivities are planned, including Carpathian food, music and traditional burning of the effigy.

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