“Maslenitsa,” or “Pancake Week,” begins in Russia on Mar. 11 this year. All across the country, people will be preparing for Lent fasting and the arrival of spring by gathering with relatives to eat tons and tons of homemade pancakes. Pancakes are made every day during the week, starting Monday, but most of all from Thursday to Sunday. Pancake-making is a pagan tradition that goes way back in Russian history. It is the pagan sun god “Yarilo” who banishes the winter darkness, and the round golden pancake is meant to represent the sun.