Last weekend I celebrated Maslenitsa (aka Pancake Week) at the Kyiv Rus Park. My previous experience of Maslenitsa was in Moscow where I joined the festivities at Vasilievski Spusk (A Spring Arrival! ).
This year I went back in time to the Kievan Rus’ epoch. The Kyiv Rus Park is near the village of Kopachiv, 34km away from Kiev. You can get there by marshrutka (bus) from the metro Vydubychi. The marshrutkas are handy but temperamental, our little one broke down halfway and we ended up in the middle of nowhere surrounded by stray dogs. We eventually made it to the park after another bus came to the rescue.
The park is a reconstruction of the Kiev Kremlin in the 10th and 13th century. Inside the wooden fortress there are pubs, stalls, and all sorts of medieval games and entertainment. During Maslenitsa piles of fresh pancakes are expected but we were disappointed as only ready-made microwaved ones were available. The main street from the entrance is also more of a tourist market than a medieval city path.
Still we had a merry old time with village vodka, Mead, mulled wine, and folk singers.
For the festival finale Lady Maslenitsa, a giant scarecrow personifying winter, was set alight with flaming arrows. We all gathered round to see the action and as winter burnt to cinders, a sense of release and spring cheer filled the air.
Sadly we were too optimistic.
Maslenitsa hasn’t broken winter’s spell and the Snow Queen is back with vengeance. We are currently experiencing Snowmageddon! Kiev is in a state of emergency following a snowstorm with a record snowfall of 1.6 feet in 24 hours. People are panic buying food supplies, cars have disappeared under white heaps, and the whole city is in snowy chaos.
Time to take refuge from this white apocalypse and pray the May Queen will conquer the Snow Queen!