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Pancakes And Pugilism: Russia's Fiery Maslenitsa Marks Winter's End

Maslenitsa, or Shrovetide, is an ancient Orthodox Christian holiday celebrated in the last week before the Orthodox Lent. The festivities -- also known as Pancake Week -- are traditionally celebrated in Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine and mark the end of winter.

Celebrations feature the baking of traditional pancakes, sleigh rides, sparring between groups of men and, finally, the burning of an effigy of Lady Maslenitsa.

Shrovetide precedes the beginning of Lent, with each day of the week holding its own meaning. Shrove Sunday, also known as the Sunday of Forgiveness, is a day for asking forgiveness for the harm caused to other people intentionally or unintentionally.

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