Every March, we get a whole week to binge on blini here in the capital of the Federation.
This week is called “Maslenitsa”.
We eat blini because they look like the sun and then we burn scare-crows to remind ourselves that Spring is near-ish.
Blini with jam, meat, caviar, condensed milk, honey, butter, ice cream, sour cream, cheese, chocolate sauce…
It’s beautiful – but all things come at a price.
FROM CARNIVORE to CARNIFLORE
The Russian price of blini-bingeing is a 40-day vegan fast to build body, mind and soul, or what some prefer to call “the Great Orthodox Lent”.
This self-imposed refusal of all that is good and delicious was actually bequeathed unto modern society by our friendly ancestors, the Pagans.
By the end of winter, the friendly Pagans had nothing but some bitter old root vegetables left, withering away in the corner or firmly frosted up under some soil outside.
By March, all one could do was chew on the leftovers and ask the weather gods for an early spring.
The Christians didn’t like the Pagans, they had too many Gods and not enough sense.
So the well-intentioned god-fearers exterminated and converted the lot of them.
To keep the peace in the realm of Jesus, they spruced them up with the God-stamp of quality.
And this is how Lent was born, from the uterus of economic obligation to the trough of celestial bliss.