Exact address and directions will be sent later
Mardi Gras, Carnival, Carnaval, Karneval . . . that’s Maslenitsa by any other name. And if you haven’t heard of it, no one would blame you—it wasn’t celebrated to much extent for 85 years in Russia. However, Maslenitsa is back in full force.
Maslenitsa week began as a pagan ritual and has since been absorbed into the Eastern Orthodox religion. As it stands, Maslenitsa serves many purposes. Maslenitsa signals the exit of winter and heralds the coming of spring. As a part of pre-Lenten celebrations, it is also a pre-emptive strike to the upcoming fast. Because meat and dairy would traditionally be forbidden, Maslenitsa is the time for feasting (especially on pancakes). The name of the festival has its roots in the Russian word for butter, “maslo.”
The Maslenitsa Pancake
Blini are Russian pancakes, and they are essential to the celebration of Maslenitsa. Said to symbolize the sun—being warm, round, and golden—they are an appropriate warning to the lingering cold weather. Blini are given to friends and family all through the week and are topped with caviar, mushrooms, jam, sour cream, and of course, a lot of butter. l
Maslenitsa also known as Butter Week, Pancake week or Cheesefare Week, is a Russianand Ukrainian religious and folk holiday. It is celebrated during the last week before Great Lent—that is, the seventh week before Pascha(Easter). Maslenitsa corresponds to the Western Christian Carnival, except that Orthodox Lent begins on a Monday instead of a Wednesday. The Orthodox date of Easter can differ greatly from the Western Christian date. In 2008, for example, Maslenitsa was celebrated from March 2 to March 8.
In 2012 it is going to be the week of 20-26 Feb. 2012
Maslenitsa has a dual ancestry: pagan and Christian. In Slavic mythology, Maslenitsa is a sun festival, celebrating the imminent end of the winter.
All in all, Maslenitsa is a good excuse to go out and have a good time, eat until you burst, and do something you wouldn't do any other time of the year .
This is how it is celebrated in Russia :
We plan to combine the festive season, fun games with outdoor activities like hiking and caving in the lovely areas of Somerset and Wiltshire.
The soft green hill of the Tor, crowned with its enigmatic tower, has become a symbol of Glastonbury. It dominates the town and the surrounding landscape, and is the first sign to the traveller that Glastonbury is drawing near.
Centuries of legends and folklore have gathered around this Tor.
The Tor was an islet for centuries, as the floodwaters took a long time to recede. "Somerset" is short for "summer settlement" because the area was too flooded to inhabit in winter. The Tor was called "Ynis Witrin" or "Isle of Glass", connected to the mainland by only a narrow strip of land at low tide. The people who recognise it enhance the power of any sacred place. This long period of semi-isolation may have not only preserved the otherworldly nature of the Tor, but also added to its aura of specialness through the eyes of the people.
Glastonbury dates back more than 4,000 years, and the historical background of the town is interwoven with worldfamous legends and folklore. It is these legends for which Glastonbury is best known, and perhaps the most enduring is that which identifies the area as Avalon, the fabled isle said to be the resting place of King Arthur.
The town's links with Arthurian mythology were strengthened further by a discovery at Glastonbury Abbey in 1191, when the monks claimed to have found the burial site of Arthur and Guinevere within the grounds. Legends dating back further suggest Glastonbury may have been visited by Joseph of Arimathea, possibly on more than one occasion. One tale has it that Joseph was Christ's uncle, and had once brought his young nephew on a trip to Somerset, inspiring William Blake's "Glastonbury Hymn", more commonly known as Jerusalem. More widely-known is the story of Joseph's arrival in Glastonbury following the Crucifixion, when he was said to have buried the Holy Grail at the base of the Tor, and planted his staff on Wearyall Hill to create the Holy Thorn.
There will be another possibility on Saturday: exploring Cheddar village and its famous gorge.
The area has been a destination of travelers and holidaymakers for centuries, each one curious to view the magnificent limestone gorge carved into the southern slopes of the Mendip hills above the village of Cheddar.
Cheddar cheese is known throughout the world, its manufacture originating at farms in the region. You can watch traditional Cheddar cheese making at the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company in the lower Gorge
There are many stories (some more believable than others) about how Cheddar cheese originally came into being, but some facts are not in doubt. The land around the village of Cheddar has been at the centre of England's dairy industry since at least the 15th Century with the earliest references to Cheddar Cheese dating from 1170.
Cheddar Caves, inhabited by our ancestors up to 40,000 years ago, were discovered by Messrs Gough & Cox, enterprising Victorian showmen, and are world famous for their spectacular stalactite and stalagmite decorations, whose beautiful colours are mirrored in pools of water.
These caves also fired the imagination of JRR Tolkien, author of the trilogy “Lord of the Rings”, on his honeymoon visit in 1916. “The Crystal Quest”, our own dark-walk fantasy adventure, creates a similar world of elven magic and bold adventure underground – because everyone knows that dragons live in caves…..
Besides visiting the caves as tourists we may explore them as speleologists as well. You will be provided with – caving helmet, lamp and battery pack, karabiner, boiler suit and Wellington (rubber) boots. Price £19 for 2 hour session.
On a way back to London we will visit and hike around
Avebury rivals - some would say exceeds - Stonehenge as the largest, most impressive and complex prehistoric site in Britain.
Built and altered over many centuries from about 2850 BC to 2200 BC, it now appears as a huge circular bank and ditch, enclosing an area of 281 ⁄2 acres (111 ⁄2 hectares), including part of Avebury village.Within this 'henge' ditch is an inner circle of great standing stones, enclosing two more stone circles, each with a central feature.
Avebury is part of a wider complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments, with many other ritual sites in English Heritage care. West Kennet Avenue joined it to The Sanctuary, and another stone avenue connected it with Beckhampton. West Kennet Long Barrow and Windmill Hill are also nearby, as is the huge and mysterious Silbury Hill. This extraordinary assemblage of sites seemingly formed a huge 'sacred landscape', whose use and purpose can still only be guessed at. Avebury and its surroundings have, with Stonehenge, achieved international recognition as a World Heritage Site.
Guys, we have a special opportunity for all of us on this trip.
Our member Lucas Hovorka from "Lucas Massage Therapy".
He will be offering Massage treatments. I met Lucas through hiking and he has been a good friend of mine for five years now. I know he is a real professional.
He is having a free assessment and special massage tester offer of a 20 minute session for £10 over the whole weekend.
Given the walking that we will be doing , having a sports massage therapist with us sounds like a great idea!
We have also got our member Ilona Velichko, she is Reiki Master and also Crystal Therapy and Australian Bush Flower Essences practitioner. She is happy to provide short taster sessions of Reiki and Crystal Therapy, consultations in Australian Bush Flower Essences and group guided meditations to relax and re-energize.
Humans vibrate at a certain frequency. When we have a disease or are overly happy this vibration changes either up or down. Crystals vibrate at a set frequency, so if we use right crystal vibration with a human imbalance we can bring about vibrational harmony and help our well-being.
Reiki is a Japanese healing system that was developed in the late 19th century. The word Reiki means “universal life force energy” which is everywhere around us. When we are in good health the energy flows freely around the body and we are full of vitality and have generally a positive outlook in life. Stress suppresses the immune system, blocks the flow of energy and causes disease. Reiki is preventative and curative as it works by eradicating the root cause of the problem – mental, emotional or physical – so the symptoms disappear. During the treatment practitioner places hands on the body in various positions and you draw the energy through the practitioner’s hands.
Australian Bush Flower Essences
Flower Essences have a very long history -- they were used even before Christ time for health and healing. The use of a flower for the purpose of healing was always seen by Aborigines as a pleasurable rite. Disease is the physical manifestation of emotional imbalances. Australian Bush Flower Essences work as catalysts to help resolve a vast range of negative emotional states and heal by helping to bring a person into emotional, spiritual and mental harmony.
We rented 3 star high quality group accommodation privately for two nights just for our group.
This is the trip for any weather.
Price includes two night accommodation, guided hikes and all meals but NOT transport or activities. Can help and advise about transport, please email the organiser.