International Santas: Bring in the New Year with Russia's Ded Moroz and Snegurochka

ded moroz final

Illustration by Lucy Burrows

The Grandfather Frost legend dates back to pagan traditions, wherein the oldest man in the family would lean out the window and ask “the Frost” to keep the family and its future crops safe. He transitioned into Grandfather Frost with the spread of Christianity. The Snow Maiden comes from a popular fairy tale, in which she bears no relation to Grandfather Frost.

It’s only in recent years that the two Russian characters have been linked together for New Year’s celebrations. In the early years of Communist rule, Grandfather Frost was banned, but in the 1950s, the government commissioned Russian writers to create dramas for the New Year. The authors brought back two classic characters from Russian history, making them relatives for good measure. In 1998, Grandfather Frost opened up his house in Veliky Ustyug as a wintertime attaction.

Don’t expect Grandfather Frost and the Snow Maiden to sneak in through the chimney though. You’re more likely to encounter them in a large-scale parade. For those who’d like to send a New Year’s wish to Ded Moroz and Snegurochka, they do accept millions of letters at the following address:

162390, Россия.
Вологодская обл.,
г. Великий Устюг,
дом Деда Мороза

You can also see a news story featuring Ded Moroz here:

Sources:

“Father Frost the Red Nose.” Russian Info Center, Dec. 13, 2007. Accessed December 2011. http://www.russia-ic.com/culture_art/traditions/642/

Taplin, Phoebe. “Reveling in Russian Santa’s Fairytale Home,” The Washington Post, Dec. 14, 2010. Accessed December 2011. http://russianow.washingtonpost.com/2010/12/reveling-in-russian-santas-fairytale-home.php

Великий Устюг, 2005. Accessed December 2011. http://www.v-ustug.ru/

Почта Деда Мороза. Accessed December 2011.  http://pochta-dm.ru/

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