Residents are invited to celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of Russian Orthodox Lent with the annual Maslenitsa Carnival on March 10.
St. Xenia of Petersburg Russian Orthodox Cathedral is hosting its annual bliny and winter festival from 12:30 to 3 p.m. in the parish hall, located at 2 Colchester Square.
“You’re going to have Sunday lunch, you may as well have it with a bunch of crazy Russians,” said parish member Vladimir Skok. “It’s unique and they’ll come away feeling like a Russian.”
The Maslenitsa Carnival, meaning Butter Week, is similar to the Catholic tradition of Mardi Gras.
“You’re being encouraged to consume all the foods you’ll give up,” said Skok, adding it also celebrates the end of winter. The beginning of the Russian Lenten season is March 18, with Easter in early May.
“There’s lots of snow, it’s still cold, but you know spring is near.”
The bliny is similar to pancakes, and is served with caviar, smoked salmon, other traditional fillings, flavoured vodka, coffee, Russian tea, sparkling wine and St. Petersburg beer.
The blin is round and golden, symbolizing the sun and coming spring, as well as the resurrection of Christ.
The festival is open to everyone, and to people of all denominations.
Skok said the aim is to “share our culture with the broader community … We’re giving them a physical taste.”
There will be Russian Gypsy dancers, traditional music, sing-a-longs and a live and silent auction.
“It will be very lively and festive,” said Skok. “It’s a food, music, culture event that’s tied to history, tied to tradition … and is aligned with the church calendar.”
One of the biggest draws is a live auction of a gourmet Russian dinner for a party of 10 at the winner’s house. Last year, the prize helped to raise $4,000.
This year, funds raised will go to the Kanata Food Cupboard and will help the church continue its interior fresco artwork.
Tickets for adults and students cost $35, and for children under 12 the cost is $20. Seating is limited and reservations can be made by calling 613-225-5782 or 613-599-0904. For more information, visit stxenia.ca.