Russian Maslenitsa festival kicks off
CGTN

Russians are celebrating the week-long Maslenitsa Festival through March 10. Since the Orthodox Church has been introduced to Russia, the church has designated Maslenitsa as the last week before entering the Orthodox fasting period. 

The festival is also considered a transition period for believers to prepare themselves for the fasting tradition of lent. There are still dishes with meat during the festival, though meat is not emphasized. 

There are other leisure and celebrations such as drinking, playing games, and cooking pancakes, also called "blini" in Russian, that symbolize the sun. In Belarus, the festival is also referred to as "the pancake week."

The festival is an Eastern Slavic religious and folk holiday. Here's a look at the celebration from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. 

People celebrating Maslenitsa in Russia. /VCG Photo

People celebrating Maslenitsa in Russia. /VCG Photo

A merchant at Moscow's Red Square this year during Maslenitsa. /VCG Photo

A merchant at Moscow's Red Square this year during Maslenitsa. /VCG Photo

A man climbs up a wooden pole to get a prize during celebration of Maslenitsa this year in Belarus. /VCG Photo

A man climbs up a wooden pole to get a prize during celebration of Maslenitsa this year in Belarus. /VCG Photo

Locals and visitors celebrate the festival and the end of winter in Ukraine. /VCG Photo

Locals and visitors celebrate the festival and the end of winter in Ukraine. /VCG Photo