International Students Celebrate Russia’s Butter Week

19 February 2018 Life of international students in Russia © SUSU

Russian universities held festivities to see off the winter.

Butter Week (Maslenitsa) is an ancient Slavic holiday, much loved in Russia. It’s a movable festival bidding farewell to the cold season and welcoming the spring and the sun. In 2018, the festival ran on 12-18th February. Russians traditionally make tasty pancakes, visit their friends, arrange outdoor celebrations and burn a straw effigy of winter as the pancake feast draws to its close.

International students can connect with Russian traditions every year during Butter Week festivities at their universities. For example, the end-of-winter festival at Far Eastern Federal University gathered students from China, Japan, Korea, India and other countries. They did a circle dance, sang Russian folk songs and practiced pancake flipping using rag dummies.

Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University celebrated Butter Week in a big way. The university campus accommodated rows of market stalls selling souvenirs, miniature straw men, painted wooden spoons, protection amulets etc. Guests were treated to filled pancakes, kebab and tea. Students took part in traditional tug-of-war and sack race competitions. The best holiday table contest gathered a huge crowd of onlookers. Each faculty presented dishes of its own. Higher School of International Education Programmes students crafted Russian, Moroccan, Irainian, Jordanian and Colombian dishes.

Lobachevsky University students visited a Butter Week fair to see traditional Russian costumes and utensils, taste honey and sweetmeats and take part in pottery, weaving and Russian folk dance master classes.

South Ural State University students joined theme games, contests and a flash mob. In Tomsk State University merry-making, students performed songs and dances and took part in sport competitions such as air gun shooting, log fighting and arm wrestling. Traditional burning of Maslenitsa straw effigy bid farewell to the winter. 

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