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International Students Join Butter Week Festival

11 March 2019
International Students Join Butter Week Festival
© SUSU

Russian universities held festive activities.

Butter Week or Maslenitsa is an ancient Slavic holiday much loved in Russia. It is celebrated at the end of the winter as the cold spell gives way to the spring. In 2019, the festival ran on 4-10 March. It is the time of feasting, pancake making, fun competitions, singing, circle dancing, jumping over the fire and burning a straw effigy of the winter.

Every year, Russian universities arrange Butter Week outdoor celebrations involving international students. It is an excellent opportunity to connect with Russian culture and traditions. For example, Butter Week at Far Eastern Federal University brought together 250 students, mostly foreign nationals. After fun games such as tug-of-war, pillow fight and sack race, and master classes in talisman crafting and making puff pastry figurines, they had tea with tasty pancakes.

Lobachevsky University held a Butter Week Fair. International students learnt to make clay pots, did a circle dance and took part in a theatrical show. Festival guests tasted a traditional Russian honey-based alcoholic drink (medovukha) and pancakes served with different fillings.

South Ural State University students have this tradition: every year, they taste a new variety of pancakes during Maslenitsa. In 2019, they were treated to flax meal, buckwheat and chokecherry pancakes. Sack fight on a beam, weight lifting and fortune-telling were part of the merrymaking.

In the Butter Week merrymaking at National Research Tomsk State University students took part in a tug-of-war and felt boot throwing, saw a puppet show, and welcomed a Butter Week train carrying a straw man and a military governor.

Siberian Federal University which currently accommodates Student Games athletes and volunteers arranged Butter Week celebrations on a large scale. Musicians played the accordion and balalaikas and dance group performed for the guests. SibFU students joined the festival as they sang four-line folk rhymes and participated in the contest for the best sun symbol costume. The burning of a straw figure of the winter wrapped up the festival.

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