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    MOSCOW, February 15, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - For the third consecutive year the capital of Russia will be celebrating Maslenitsa on February 16-22.

    Within the next week Muscovites will be offered treats, folk music concerts, fireworks and all entertainment connected with the celebration of Maslenitsa - harbinger of the spring. Souvenir kiosks, gaffs, skating rink and a stage for the daily concert performances will be open in the Maslenitsa town on the Vasilyevsky Spusk (near the Kremlin Walls). The guests of the celebration will try the traditional treats - pancakes, pies, and sweets.

    The culminating point of the Maslenitsa celebration is February 19th - the Glutton Day. An attempt to break the world record for the tallest pile of pancakes will be made. The last year's world record setting pile was nearly seven meters high. This time well known politicians will participate in the competition.

    The celebration of Maslenitsa (it originated in the pre-Christian times) falls on the part of winter, when the vivifying victory of the Mother Nature over winter hard frosts is obvious - thaw starts and icicles melt. The force of the pagan tradition was so strong that even with the introduction of the Orthodoxy in Russia in the 10th century, people continued to celebrate Maslenitsa.

    At the carnival on the last day of Maslenitsa a huge straw scarecrow, signifying Winter, is traditionally burned.

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