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Melbourne Russian Festival

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by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Enjoy an immersion in Russian food and culture

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).

The unique feature of this year's festival is that it precedes Maslenitsa or Pancake Week, a very famous Eastern Slavic folk holiday, celebrated during the last week before Great Lent.

A Maslenitsa tradition is to share pancakes (also known as blini) loaded with indulgent toppings. These are shared with family, friends, and acquaintances.

So, make sure you try this amazing dish.

Russian Festival Melbourne
Photo @nadinecresswellmyatt

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.

The Australian festival will have traditional products such as handicrafts, including nesting dolls as well as traditional Russian scarves for sale.

Russian Festival Melbourne
Photo @nadinecresswellmyatt

There will be a children's village with farm animals, games and entertainment.

You will also have the chance to visit the famous Russian Orthodox Church (Pokrov Melbourne Parish) as the doors to this beautiful cathedral will be open.

This event is held yearly and the next Melbourne Russian Festival is on March 2, 10 am - 6 pm, 2019. It will be held at Jones Park, 9-23 Albion Street, Brunswick East Victoria.

Russian Festival Melbourne
Photo @nadinecresswellmyatt

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Why? To immerse yourself in Russian culture
When: March 2, 10am - 6pm
Where: Jones Park, 9-23 Albion Street, Brunswick East Victoria
Cost: FREE
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