- On 22 Dec 2010
Santa Clause - AKA Ded Moroz (Father Frost)
In Russia Ded Moroz delivers the presents instead of Santa Claus.
Christmas Eve is only two days away, and Santa is getting ready to make lots of stops around the world to deliver presents to all the good boys and girls. Ever wonder what the Russians call Santa Claus, and how they celebrate Christmas. Well, when it comes down to it, the holidays are pretty much the same, with some minor differences.
The biggest difference would be the date, Christmas in Russia is traditionally celebrated on Jan. 7th according to the Gregorian Calendar which is still followed by the Russian Orthodox Church. However, "Christmas" in Russia is only a religious holiday. In America this is also the case, as Christmas is primarily a religious holiday, but it is more of a cultural holiday, as many Americans who are not religious still celebrate Christmas. In Russia, New Years is the equivalent of American Christmas and New Years combined into one big holiday, which makes for the biggest celebration of the year!
The second main difference is in the Characters that represent the holiday, Santa Claus in America and Ded Moroz (or Father Frost) and his granddaughter Snegurochka (or snow girl) in Russia. The two characters are essentially the same person, dressed a bit differently, but they represent the same ideas. As in America, in Russia Ded Moroz brings presents to all the good boys and girls, leaving them under the New Years tree (Novogodnaya Yolka). Whereas usually in America Christmas is only associated with Santa Claus, in Russia Ded Moroz is accompanied by his granddaughter the snow girl Snegurochka.
How the holiday is celebrated is also very similar. In Russia on New Years Eve, traditionally there is a family get-together with lots of food, fellowship, and exchanging of gifts, just as in America. However, Since it is actually New Years Eve, the family will watch the President's speech together at midnight, before going their separate ways. Everyone typically goes out for a walk to shoot fireworks or hang out with friends and continue the celebration of New Years throughout the night.
There are other traditions associated the New Years in Russia, particularly related to predicting the future, but since now it is Christmas in America, and not yet New Years in Russia, we'll save those traditions for later, so stay tuned!