Pancakes carnival or Maslenitsa is one of the few holidays that have been preserved since paganism times. It was used to welcome spring on Maslenitsa. During the whole week people back and eat pancakes with different fillers – berries, jam, meat, caviar etc.
With the development of the Orthodox religion Maslenitsa got a new meaning – preparation for the long fasting period. In the Soviet times this religious holiday was banned, but the tradition of winter farewell pancakes celebrating remained.
Tsar Peter the Great arranged the most grandiose celebration of Pancake Day in 1722. There was a procession of Russian Navy ships, which pulled hundreds of horses sleigh on the streets of Moscow. They were accompanied by maskers dressed as wild animals and fantasy creatures, and Peter the Great was sitting in one of the ships and firing cannons and raising the sails.
Fistfights were one of the main attractions of the Pancakes festival. Participation in them was a matter of honor for every man. Usually fights took place between the neighboring villages of “wall to wall” in compliance with certain rules, such as not to hit a lying, and in case of appearance of the blood of the enemy to finish the fight.
The largest 20 meters in diameter pancake was baked in 2011 in the city of Cherkassy, Ukraine.