• March 3, 2014
  • 213

For carnival pancakes – to Šalčininkai!

© Anna Pieszko

The tradition of the carnival, i.e. the sumptuous celebrations of the last days of the carnival, is consistently maintained by Šalčininkai. It did not matter that there were cold outside – in a city park folk bands urged to dance, and for the all cold guests waited a real samovar tea and hot pancakes straight from the pan.

On the first Sunday of March hosts and guests had the opportunity to celebrate together to the accompaniment of folk and dance bands, and at the end they symbolically said goodbye to winter by burning out a straw dummy called Marzanna.

The chairman of the board Zdzislaw Palewicz welcomed the inhabitants and the guests of Šalčininkai. For the celebration arrived also the director of local government administration of the Šalčininkai district, the deputy director of administration Jozef Rybak. It could not have missed the organizer of the celebrations – the manageress of the Centre of Culture in Šalčininkai with her colleagues.

The preparations for the carnival celebrations began much earlier. So that the traditions could be observed, those who were eager to could take part in workshops organized by the Centre of Culture in Šalčininkai, during which you could learn how to make a carnival mask. The palpable effects of the workshops – the carnival masks – were placed in the Internet portal. The authors whose works got the largest number of “likes”, were awarded on the stage of a local park on this day.

The carnival celebrations began together with the energetic performance of a dance band called “Smile” from Šalčininkai, under the leadership of Irina Dudak. The gathered guests were urged to dance by the hosts’ band called “Solczanie”, under the leadership of Gienadij Afanasjew, as well as by the guests from Vilnius – the band called “Ratilai”, under the leadership of Mantas Kauzonas. For the celebrations in Šalčininkai were also invited: the band of folk music and songs from Slonim “Grymata” under the leadership of Nikołaj Adamczik and the Student Dance And Song Bang from from “Poland” called “Podlasie” under the leadership of Marian Redzicki, Magda Oswulska, and Marcin Bohemka.

As was Said by the manager Marcin Rzędzicki, „Podlasie” had about 1,5 thousand concerts all around the world. In Šalčininkai the band presented folk dances from different regions of Poland, such as: Podlasia, the Sadecki district, you could admire the suite of the highlanders from Zywiec and the national dances.

It happened that this year’s celebration of Easter coincided both in the catholic church and the orthodox church, thus in that Sunday afternoon there were many Russian and orthodox accents. The students from the secondary school in Šalčininkai presented on stage a merry performance with “chastushkas”, the gathered were greeted by fr Oleg Pristawko – a rector in the orthodox parish of St. Tikhon’s in Šalčininkai, and the Russian carnival song was sung by matushka Anastasija.

– I am glad that the tradition connects us because all that has remained in a good person has to live. People have the right to meet during such celebrations and spend time together – said fr Oleg Pristawko.

As fr Oleg claimed, the carnival traditions have much in common both in the catholic church and the orthodox church.

– The differences are visible in traditions connected with the Lent – said fr Oleg to the “Courier”. – If the week before the Lent was said to be the carnival, during the Lent the orthodox people are under a strong obligation not to eat meat and even dairy products. Of course, all of this with a common sense – the fasting is not obligatory for children, women expecting a baby, and ill people. Any renunciation is recommended – for a person to have an intention, to have an opportunity to quiet themselves inside and turn their thoughts to Jesus Christ. I would say that this period is a period of a “desert”, of thinking and reflecting.

In the orthodox church there is “maslenica” the whole week, and each day from Monday ‘till Sunday has its own name – and here we have “Monday’s welcome of maslenica”, and “Wednesday’s evening at mother-in-law”, and “Friday’s treat at son-in-law”.

– I would say it is a week of an agreement, when people visit for instance their mothers-in-law, their friends – said fr Oleg. – During the whole week people visit each other, they agree and forgive others their harms. Sunday finishes this week – it is the so-called „proszczionnoje woskresienije”, a day of the covenant, in which everybody has to agree with others. Otherwise you cannot feel the joy of the Resurrection.

Fr Oleg performed also a show of playing the bells and any eager person was able to try this art.

Carnival is not carnival if there is no pancakes. With their round shape they resemble the sun, and with their delicious taste and reddish surface they have a soothing effect on the cold souls and bodies. Therefore the pancakes were not missing during the celebrations – the master in preparing them turned out to be Żenia, who was doing all his best with two pans and a mixer during the duration of the celebrations. Soft, plump, made with love, and drizzled with the home-made jam really chased the chill away. Asked if he was not tired of standing long hours at the cooker with a hot frying pan in hand, Żenia answered that … he was relaxing doing this.

There was also hot, desired tea waiting for the guests. It scalded the hands but tasted delicious, especially because it was brewed in real samovars, heated with wooden sticks.

The guests could also look around at the fair and took home a souvenir chosen from plenty of folk products. The products pleasing the eye were, among others: wicker baskets, clay pots, leather handbags, articles made of felt – fancy hats, colourful and warm slippers, less and less frequent felt boots. And of course something to eat – delicacies without which you cannot think of the carnival – doughnuts, cracknels, brownies, rolls, all the delicious food.

As the reminder of the Palm Sunday – at the fair there also were the forerunners of this holiday – the Vilnius palms – tempting with colours and elaborate decorations.

– The flowers are collected, dried, painted, and bound – said Alina Plotnikovienė nee Kozlowska. She is here with her mother Alina Kozlowska. – Many flowers are sown by us, then we need to look after them and water them. We make palms out of the clover, timothy, bent grass, and tansy.

The whole female half of the family – from grandmother to her daughters – has been involved in plaiting the palms. Making a tiny palms with “hearts” takes a skilled person twenty minutes, some of the palms have been more time-consuming – you should allocate more than an hour for making them.

-It’s cheerful and colourful here – said happily young guests from Vilnius Agnieszka and Pawel. – The thing that amazes is the presence of many generations here, on the celebrations – people enjoying the celebrations are both younger and older… On Saturday we were at the carnival in Vilnius so in the comparison with the capital city very positively Belarussian, Russian, Polish, and Lithuanian accents are a positive surprise. People of plenty of nationalities, beliefs, and at different age are having fun here. – Agnieszka and Pawel shared their experiences.

A recipe for delicious carnival pancakes

Beat 4 eggs with 100 g of sugar and a pinch of salt. Pour about one liter of kefir (kind of buttermilk) in and add a half teaspoon of baking soda into it – in order to “put it out” in kefir. In the end, mix it with about 750 g of flour, maybe a little more, you should check the consistency, the dough should be pourable but not too thick. Let it stand for 10 minutes for the baking soda to loosen the dough, and for the flour to have time to swell. Fry in a thin layer of olive oil (lubricated with a special silicon brushed – copied from someone), covering the whole frying pan with dough. Serve – as you like it – with cream, your favourite jam, or butter, Enjoy your meal!

Source: http://kurierwilenski.lt/2014/03/03/na-zapustowe-bliny-do-solecznik/

Tłumaczenie by Roksana Kasperek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Roksana Kasperek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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