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Ded Moroz, the Russian Santa

Ded Moroz, or "Grandfather Frost" is Russia's Santa Claus

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Ded Moroz and Snegurochka

Ded Moroz and Snegurochka

iStockphoto/oleg66
The Russian Santa Claus is known as Ded Moroz. “Ded Moroz” translates to “Grandfather Frost” in English, but most English speakers simply call him “Father Frost.” He is a figure associated with Russian Christmas traditions and New Year's traditions.

While Ded Moroz is the Russian equivalent of Santa Claus, he is unmistakably Russian in appearance and attitude. He is typically shown in a long, Russian-style coat in the colors of red, icy blue, silver, gold, or another color appropriate to the season, which is lined or trimmed with white fur. Ded Moroz lacks the conical-style cap worn by the Western Santa and instead sports a rounded Russian cap generously trimmed with fur. His clothing is sometimes richly decorated with embroidery. Traditionally shown as a tall and slender older gentleman, Ded Moroz cuts an elegant figure on Christmas cards wishing the receiver happy New Year.

Ded Moroz carries a staff and wears a long white beard. He protects his feet from the cold by tall valenki or leather boots. The three horses of the Russian troika offer enough power and speed to get Ded Moroz to where he needs to go – the Russian Santa has no need for eight reindeer!

Ded Moroz delivers gifts on New Year's Eve rather than on Christmas Eve. He is often accompanied by a figure from Russian fairy tales, Snegurochka, the Snow Maiden. In the legend of Ded Moroz, she is said to be his granddaughter.

Instead of the North Pole, the Russian Santa Claus officially makes his home at an estate in the Russian town of Veliky Ustyug. Children can write their letters to Ded Moroz and send them to Veliky Ustyug in hopes of having their holiday wishes granted. Those who visit Veliky Ustyug can have their photo take with Ded Moroz, ride in a troika, and enjoy wintertime activities.

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

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