On February 28 the Kuznetsky Alatau Natural Reserve hosted the celebration of Shrovetide by more than 200 TopProm employees.
The Russian name of the holiday is Maslenitsa. It has always been one of the merriest and most popular holidays; originally a pagan rite of celebrating the end of winter, it later became a part of Christian traditions*.
The Saturday was sunny and snowy which helped the feasters get into a truly festive spirit. All the TopProm’s enterprises were represented by teams that participated in various funny sport competitions, while the audience was supporting those and during breaks had a chance to look around the Reserve.
* Maslenitsa is an Eastern Slavic religious and folk holiday, celebrated during the last week before Great Lent, that is, the eighth week before Eastern Orthodox Pascha (Easter). Maslenitsa corresponds to the Western Christian Carnival, except that Orthodox Lent begins on a Monday instead of a Wednesday, and the Orthodox date of Easter can differ greatly from the Western Christian date.
In some regions, each day of Maslenitsa had its traditional activity. Monday may be the welcoming of “Lady Maslenitsa”. The community builds the Maslenitsa effigy out of straw, decorated with pieces of rags, and fixed to a pole. It is paraded around and the first pancakes may be made and offered to the poor. On Tuesday, young men might search for a fiancée to marry after lent. On Wednesday sons-in-law may visit their mother-in-law who has prepared pancakes and invited other guests for a party. Thursday may be devoted to outdoor activities. People may take off work and spend the day sledding, ice skating, snowball fights and with sleigh rides. On Friday sons-in-law may invite their mothers-in-law for dinner. Saturday may be a gathering of a young wife with her sisters-in-law to work on a good relationship. The last day of Shrovetide Week is called "Forgiveness Sunday". Relatives and friends ask each other for forgiveness and might offer them small presents. As the culmination of the celebration people gather to "strip Lady Maslenitsa of her finery" and burn her in a bonfire. Left-over pancakes may also be thrown into the fire and Lady Maslenitsa's ashes are buried in the snow to "fertilize the crops". (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslenitsa)