Source of image: www.nbrb.by
Maslenitsa (Pancake week) is a moveable festival celebrating the imminent end of the winter and the vernal awakening of Nature which has retained pagan elements compared with other feasts. Following the adoption of Christianity, the date of its celebration became dependent on the date Vjalikdzen (Easter) is observed, while Maslenitsa week comes to an end on Sunday preceding the seven-week-long great Lent. Rites stimulating weddings were the centrepiece of Maslenitsa festivities. Womenfolk walked around the place with a chunk of a tree (a log) and, if they came across an unmarried over-age lad on their way, they roped him and made him tow the log. In other places, single men had a piece of ribbon pinned onto their chest and were required to wear it over the entire Pancake week.
According to popular belief, this was seen as a sign of punishment for evading their responsibilities to start a family and neglecting their duty to produce children. The newlyweds were not ignored either. Women congratulated them, wished them prosperity, health, and birth of children. All that week, the elderly householders, relatives, godfathers, and newlyweds' parents visited one another riding in the decorated sleighs pulled by horses in new harness. On Thursday - St Ulas' Day, they observed the last day before breaking the fast, wherefore the housewives made many rye, barley, and oat bliny (pancakes), leaving the first one on the windowsill for their ancestors. Children, young marrieds, as well as women went down the ice-covered slopes - commonly riding on distaffs - striving to go as far as possible so that the flax would grow taller in the summer. According to the custom, the sons-in-law went on Friday to see their mothers-in law and eat bliny, while daughters-in-law received their relations on Saturday, inviting the godparents and midwife without
Perhaps, the most festive day of Maslenitsa week was the last one, i.e. Sunday, when young people lit a bonfire and burned an effigy of the winter. At night, the whole family were to partake in the evening meal ("to go on dairy fasting"), because the great Lent began on Monday. A very fascinating and solemn rite was performed that evening in many parts of Belarus when all family members asked for each other's forgiveness.
An octagonal star on the obverse symbolizes the annual cycle of festivals of the Belarusian folk calendar. In the context of used symbols each marked ray nationally represents one of the eight major Belarusian festivals (Kolyady, Maslenitsa (the Pancake Week), Vjalikdzen' (Easter), Troitsa (the Trinity Sunday), Kupalle, Spasy (the Saviour), Bogatch and Dzedy) that correlate with the main phases of the Sun (winter and summer solstice, spring and autumn equinox) or are celebrated when the seasons change.
Phd (Architecture, History), Professor
Text from the official flyer “MASLENTSA” of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus
|Date : 07.02.2007|
|Metal : Ag 925|
|Diameter, mm : 38.61|
|Weight, g : 31.10|
|Mintage, St. : 5000|
|Minted by : |
CJSC "Lithuanian Mint", Vilnius, Lithuania
|Design : |
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