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. Since 2002 it's been officially organized in the city and is again becoming a mainstay of St. Petersburg's holiday calendar. Maslenitsa signals the exit of winter and heralds the coming of spring. Maslenitsa is the time for feasting (especially on pancakes). The name of the festival has its roots in the Russian word for butter, "maslo. " Troika rides, sledding, theater, puppets, singing, and fireworks are all a part of the Maslenitsa celebrations. 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.