SPRING SMELLS OF PANCAKES
These round yellowy hot “sunnies” mean spring is near. Shrovetide and pancakes go together well, Belarusians believe
Shrovetide is still celebrated in Belarus, and the first days of March were filled with the aroma of pancakes. Folklore teams were responsible for the festivities and colours of the snow-covered but spring-smelling streets of Belarus. Bright folk costumes filled life with the pagan past with saltimbancos and guisers asking passers-by whether they would like a dance or take part in a game or two.
The last day of Shrovetide is called Shrove Sunday, the best moment to ask the close ones to forgive you for any troubles. Minsk citizens asked forgiveness and forgave in hundreds. It is very important to forgive, because if you bear malice, trouble will haunt you until the next Shrovetide.
Time not only stripped Belarusians off their national costumes, but also changed, or upgraded, some traditions, as large sledges with bells and ribbons are almost nowhere to be seen, however, smaller toboggans are everywhere, and bring even more joy.
Fires are as important as ever, and although days seemed sunny and warm, winter was strong enough to puff out all fires. It took some time to light them, and someone said “Frosts will return”.
Children were the main heroes of the festivities. Special games and contests, tasty presents and souvenirs for winners. Quizzes for the best knowledge of traditional Shrovetide food always ended in special treats, like regular and covered pancakes with dressing and fillers. Parents were eager to prompt their kids the right answers, as every answer meant a tasty bit.
Children were mesmerized by national instruments, such as cembalo, accordion, and spoons. They were listening to stories about good old times to remember them and retell to their kids in the future, for traditions must live.
by Olga Kornei