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  Residence Of Ded Moroz And Snegurochka

Residence Of Ded Moroz And Snegurochka 

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General information

Ded Moroz and Snegurochka.

Ustyug & Kostroma
Current Russian tradition of New Year celebration on December, 31 was brought by Tzar Peter the Great after his visit of the Western Europe in the late 17th century. The Russian New Year celebration includes, among the fireworks and family supper, the visit of gift-giving Ded Moroz accompanied by elegant figure of his granddaughter Snegurochka who helps him play with kids and present the gifts. Ded Moroz delivers gifts on New Year's Eve rather than on Christmas Eve which is celebrated on the 7th of January that corresponds to December 25 in old-style Julian calendar (changed by Soviet government after 1917). Christmas trees and Ded Moroz were banned in Soviet Union until 1935 because they were considered to be a “bourgeois and religious prejudice”. Nevertheless, after a few years Ded Moroz became the key figure of the Soviet New Year Holiday that replaced Christmas as the most favorite holiday in the pre-revolutionary Russia. Father Frost has not just kept his popularity and importance up to the present days, but is gaining more and more of them.

The literal translation of Ded Moroz is Grandfather Frost, however he is sometimes called Father Frost. Initially roots of Ded Moroz are in old Slavic pagan beliefs.  In Russian folklore Grandfather Frost is a powerful hero and smith who chains water in rivers and lakes with his “iron” frosts. But under the influence of Orthodox traditions severe Father Frost adopted certain traits from Saint Nicolas, became kind and started to give presents to kids.

The traditional appearance of Ded Moroz — a coat, long snow-white beard, ruddy nose and cheeks — has a close resemblance with western Santa Claus. Ded Moroz wears a heel-long fur coat and valenki (Russian high felt boots) that protects his feet from the cold. Ded Moroz lacks the conical-style cap worn by the Western Santa and instead wears a rounded Russian cap generously trimmed with fur. He walks with a long magical stick with a sparkling star on its top and carrying a huge red sack with presents. Ded Moroz does not say “Ho, ho, ho” like Santa do and travels in a magical decorated troika (sleigh drawn by three white horses) instead of eight reindeers.

Russian three horses.

Granddaughter of Ded Moroz is Snegurochka or the “Snow Maiden”.  She is a unique attribute of the image of  Ded Moroz — none of his foreign colleagues has such a cute companion. The image of Snegurochka personifies frozen waters. She is an enigmatic maid (not a small girl) wearing purely white garments. She is wearing an eight-radial crown decorated with silver and pearls on her head.

Unlike the secretive ways of Santa Claus, Ded Moroz and Snegurochka bring presents to children personally, while specially organized New Year parties for kids called “The New Year Tree party”. Ded Moroz and his snow-white granddaughter entertain children and their parents with verses, riddles and performances, sing and dance with them around the fir tree, and finally give gifts to children.

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