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What Is Santa Like In Russia?

December 18, 2018
By Anesa McGregor , Emmetsburg News

Around the world, you can find a different version of what Santa Claus is, what he does and how he travels.

I was looking up an answer to the trivia question, What color is Santa's suit in Russia, and I foudn some surprising information I thought I would share.

First and foremost, the Russian Santa Claus is known as Ded Moroz. In English it means Grandfather Frost.

Centuries ago, Ded Moroz went by the name Morozko, a powerful and cruel god of frost and ice, married to the equally unforgiving Winter. He could freeze people and landscapes at will, including entire invading armies.

In some tellings, he was erratic and impulsive, and the newly established Russian Orthodox Church attempted to make him out as a demon, along with the other pagan gods.

However, his more lasting image was of a wise and open-minded old man, someone who would give everyone a second change and only freeze them if they continued in their ways.

Santa Claus has his Mrs. Claus; Ded Moroz has a granddaughter, Snegurochka (from sneg, 'snow'), which means the snow maiden. Snegurochka is made of snow, with a foreseeable results. She is typically portrayed as blonde, rosy-cheeked, and smiling, but this legendary figure also dresses in the wintry colors of the season to assist Father Frost in his efforts to distribute gifts.

Before her association with Ded Moroz, she appeared in several Russian fairy tales, each of which ended with her melting.

Ded Moroz can sometimes appear in blue, or even white. But that's not the main difference. In his clothing Ded Moroz is meant to look like a Russian nobleman from before Russia's Westernization. His coat is not just trimmed in white: it is often richly embroidered with white or gold designs. A traditional fur-trimmed cap and felt boots complete the picture.

Ded Moroz carries a staff and wears a long white beard. He protects his feet from the cold by tall valenki, felted boots popular in Russia, or leather boots.

We all know that Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, what we don't know exactly where. However, every country claims to have a postal address forhis workshop.

Ded Moroz, on the other hand, is very easy to locate: his house is located in Velikiy Ustyug, a few hours north of Moscow. Those who visit Veliky Ustyug can have their picture taken with Ded Moroz, ride in a troika (a traditional Russian harness driving combination, using three horses abreast, usually pulling a sleigh) and enjoy winter activies.

During the holiday season, Ded Moroz makes appearances in major Russian cities, like Moscow, and he often takes part in festivals and parades.

Ded Moroz delivers gifts on New Year's Eve rather than on Christmas Eve due to the shifting of this tradition to the more secular holiday during Soviet times.

The holiday tree is the New Year tree, rather than the Christmas tree, though it might appear early enough to mark both occasions, particularly due to Russia's Christmas being celebrated according to the Orthodox Church calendar, after the first of the year.

 
 
 

 

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