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Maslenitsa, the Russian Mardi Gras

Willamette University said goodbye to winter and hello to spring through its fifth-annual celebration of Maslenitsa on Feb. 28.

Originally a Pagan holiday, Maslenitsa is the Russian version of Mardi Gras — an event that involves feasting, drinking and street theatre.

Willamette students kept some of these traditions alive through eating bliny (crepes) topped with everything from honey to jam, playing games of tug-of-war, and singing traditional Russian folk songs. The event also featured the burning of effigies, which symbolizes the end of winter. 

The event was sponsored by the Department of German and Russian and was largely organized by the student-run Russian Club.