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Santa Claus in Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe's Santa Claus Names and Traditions


Santa Claus in Eastern Europe has many names - and many countries in Eastern Europe are visited by more than one Santa Claus character. St. Nicholas visits some children on December 5th (St. Nicholas Eve) or December 6th (St. Nicholas Day). Grandfather Frost or Baby Jesus is usually responsible for bringing gifts on Christmas Eve. Some Santa Claus figures wait until New Year's Eve to visit children. Learn more about the names and traditions of Eastern Europe's Santa Clauses below.

The Russian Santa Claus

Names for Russia's Santa:

  • Дед Мороз (Ded Moroz - Grandfather Frost)

About the Russian Santa: Ded Moroz,or Grandfather Frost, is a stately older gentleman who is accompanied by a beautiful snow maiden named Snegurochka. They make their home in Russia's north, Veliky Ustyug.

Russia's Christmas Traditions

The Czech Santa Claus

Names for the Czech Santa:

  • Svatý Mikuláš (Saint Nicholas)
  • Ježíšek (Baby Jesus)

About the Czech Santa: Saint Nicholas visits children on St. Nicholas Eve, and actors take to the streets to pass out sweets. Baby Jesus, who lives in the Czech mountains, visits on Christmas Eve and magically decorates a tree and leaves gifts for children.

Czech Christmas Traditions

Hungary's Santa Claus

Names for Hungary's Santa:

  • Mikulás (Nicholas)
  • Télapó (Old Man Winter)
  • Jézuska or Kis Jézus (Baby Jesus)

About Hungary's Santa: Mikulas is Hungary's answer to Saint Nicholas. Baby Jesus visits on Christmas Eve.

Hungary's Christmas Traditions

Croatia's Santa Claus

Names for Croatia's Santa Claus: 

  • Sveti Nikola (Saint Nicholas)
  • Djed Mraz (Grandfather Frost)
  • Djed Božičnjak (Grandfather Christmas)

About Croatia's Santa Claus: Sveti Nikola fills shoes with treats on St. Nicholas Eve. Djed Mraz is responsible for delivering gifts on Christmas Eve. Croatian children may also receive small gifts on St. Lucy's Day.

Croatia's Christmas Traditions

Poland's Santa Claus

Names for Poland's Santa Claus:

  • Święty Mikołaj (Saint Nicholas)
  • Gwiazdor

Poland's Mikulaj sometimes stands in on St. Nicholas Day and Christmas Eve. In some regions, Gwiazdor is responsile for bringing gitfts to children.

Poland's Christmas Traditions

Bosnia and Herzegovina's Santa Claus

Names for Bosnia and Herzegovina's Santa Claus:

  • Djeda Mraz (Grandfather Frost)

Bulgaria's Santa Claus

Names for Bulgaria's Santa Claus:

  • Дядо Коледа (Dyado Koleda - Grandfather Christmas)
  • Дядо Мраз (Dyado Mraz - Grandfather Frost)

Bulgaria's Christams Traditons

Albania's Santa Claus

Names for Albania's Santa Claus:

  • Babagjyshi i Krishtlindjeve (Grandfather Christmas)
  • Babadimri (Grandfather Winter)

Lithuania's Santa Claus

Names for Lithuania's Santa Claus:

  • Senis Šaltis (Old Man Frost)
  • Kalėdų Senelis (Christmas Grandfather)

Lithuania's Christmas Traditions

Macedonia's Santa Claus

Names for Macedonia's Santa Claus:

  • Дедо Мраз (Dedo Mraz – Grandfather Frost)
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