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Dob-ro po-zha-lo-vat' or Welcome to the annual Melbourne Russian Festival, a celebration of the richness and diversity of Russian culture.
This year's festival will take place in Jones Park, Brunswick East, adjacent to the impressive Russian Orthodox Cathedral. This stately building has the gold onion curved domes that one sees on Russian postcards of Moscow. So even the backdrop for this festival seems straight out of Russia.
Last year's inaugural Melbourne Russian Festival was a great success as was their recent Christmas event. As I attended, I can definitely vouch for the fact that the organisers, the Russian Ethnic Representative Council of Victoria, really make the most of all the important Russian traditions, so that when you visit an event they organise you feel completely immersed in Russian culture.
The festival will begin at 10 am with performances on the main stage. There will be lively melodies and folk dances and don't miss the opportunity to join the dancers and learn the traditional Russian steps.
In order to plunge you into the very heart of Russian culture, there will be unique master classes, including those in traditional crafts such as pottery and Khokhloma (a style of wood painting characterised by floral themes that incorporate gold leaves and red berries).
There will be traditional Russian food and a beer court. Russian food is very diverse, due to Russia's rich cultural heritage and you will be able to try some famous traditional Russian cuisine. There should be traditional fare on offer such as pelmeni (boiled dumplings) and pirozhki (little pies).
This festival also has a unique mascot in the form of a beautifully clothed straw figure known as Lady Maslenitsa.
In Russia, Sunday is the final day, a day of forgiving – when people forgive the wrongs done against them and burn the Maslenitsa mascot, a straw doll dressed in a female costume with a pancake in her hand.