The «Maslenitsa» festivity in Yusupov Palace

Maslenitsa (Shrovetide) was one of the most flamboyant and gay festivals in the history of the Imperial St.Petersburg. Maslenitsa is a holiday marking the end of winter, the holiday of praising the sun and meeting the long-waited spring and warmth. The whole St.Petersburg celebrated from Christmas till Lent. It was the most intense ball season – «the brides fair». Landlords from rural lands drove into the capital with their families. Their daughters debuted in the polite society, in the Imperial Court and met their matches there.

The Maslenitsa week was the peak of this balling. In the time left before the Lent, the whole city indulged itself in rejoicing in course of the wild nearly pagan festivities. Celebrations in the open air, balls, masquerades and concerts were organized. On the Neva River ice and in the squares, ice-hills and fair-booths were erected. The Russian aristocracy took part in the common rejoicing and attended these simple amusements.

In accordance with the tradition, great scale Maslenitsa festivities took place in Yusupov Palace. An ice-hill for the children was constructed in the courtyard and the number of meal courses those days increased by many times. In course of the Maslenitsa week, the Yusupovs organized two-three evening gala receptions. The children particularly loved these festivals, because they got sweetmeats on these days forbidden to them on the other days.

On 17 February 2007, Yusupov Palace on the Moika River invites to take part in the traditional Maslenitsa festivities. The guests of the Palace will take part in Maslenitsa games and amusements playing with disguised artists, jumping over the fire and burning up the Maslenitsa dummy figure. In the gala rooms of the palace, the artists and musicians will entertain the guests and introduce the Maslenitsa traditions to them. The Great Concert will be organized in the Palace Theatre featuring the performance of ballet dancers, singers, puppet masters and pantomime artists. In the final stage of the event, the traditional Maslenitsa feast meal will be served for the guests in the biggest hall of the Palace – the Banquet Hall. Here a jolly fair will also take place, featuring the works by St.Petersburg craftsmen: dolls, souvenirs, paintings, dishes, etc.

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Published in: on March 2, 2007 at 12:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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