| GEO World|
| Goodbye winter carnival begins in Russia|
| Updated at: 1107 PST, Monday, March 02, 2009|
MOSCOW: Russians start to enjoy a weeklong pancake fest, or Maslenitsa, which comes before Lent and marks the end of winter. Open air celebrations were launched all across the country on Monday.
Moscow once again became the heart of the celebrations. A fair where everyone can taste pancakes, honey and hot drinks based on the traditional Russian recipes has opened in the cityís center, just meters away from the Red Square.
Discotheques, Slavic folk games, various competitions will be organized in different parts of Moscow throughout the week. But the culmination of the festivities will be a huge pageant on March 1, which, the organizers say, can be compared to the Brazilian carnival.
Maslenitsa, also known as Pancake Week, is a Russian religious and folk holiday, a centuries-old tradition with pagan and Orthodox Christian significance. In Slavic mythology it's the celebration of the coming end of winter.