I was looking up Russian holiday traditions over holiday break when I stumbled upon a holiday I had never heard of before called Maslenitsa. Apparently it’s an extremely old holiday celebrated by many Russians and people of Slavic decent where they celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Like Christmas, Maslenitsa started as a pagan holiday and was later adjusted to be Christian holiday, although the pagan customs still exist. The pagan part celebrated the vernal equinox and the coming of spring, while the Christian part celebrates the last week before lent and focuses enjoying everything that has to be given up during lent, much like in Mardi gras. The celebrations go on for a whole week with different festivities on each day. It is customary to make lots of blini, or pancakes, and to give them to friends and family.