Russian Christmas traditions: Ded Moroz

Russian Christmas traditions that you should know. Who is Ded Moroz in Russia, here we will tell you. About the Russian Santa Claus to learn more about Russian culture.


Who is Ded Moroz in Russia

Ded Moroz is the Russian Santa Claus. Ded Moroz is a character from Russian fairy tales; It comes every new year to bring Christmas presents to everyone – from adults to children. From the beginning in ancient times Ded Moroz was a symbol of cold; who in the mythology of the Slavic peoples was like the god of winter.

In modern Russia, the New Year is undoubtedly perceived as the main holiday of the year. This is evidenced by the data of the sociological surveys, according to which for several decades in a row, he with a large margin leads in the list of favorite holidays of the Russians. In general terms, it is generally accepted among the townspeople that in our time festive traditions are forgotten and gradually come out of everyday life. The practice of celebrating the New Year is a wonderful counterexample, which shows that in the modern world festive traditions can develop rapidly.

A distinctive feature of the New Year is the abundance of sustainable ritual practices associated with its celebration, of the tradition of decorating a Christmas tree. before seeing the ritual of the president’s New Year’s speech and drinking champagne for the bell. Of great importance is the mythology of the New Year, which our compatriots perceive as “coming from gray-haired antiquity”, but in fact of quite young origin.

Actually, in our usual way, the tradition of celebrating the New Year took shape in the second half of the 1930s, the starting point was the publication in the Pravda newspaper of the article of the first secretary of the Kiev regional committee Pavel Postyshev “Let’s organize a good Christmas tree for the New Year”, which was published on December 28, 1935 From that moment, the celebration of the New Year begins to be widely introduced at the state level, mainly through the organization of the morning presentations of New Year’s children in the workplace. And one of the main characters at these parties was the good Santa Claus, who distributed gifts from a huge bag to happy children.

The type of Santa Claus we are familiar with, by its origin, probably dates back not to folklore, but to 19th-century children’s literature. The stages of the formation of his image are described in detail in the monograph by Elena Dushechkina “Russian Christmas tree: history, mythology, literature” (2002).

The first appearance of “good Moroz Ivanovich” in Russian culture was “Children’s stories of grandfather Irenaeus” by VF Odoyevsky, although the action does not take place in the New Year, but in the spring, so the main character is forced to hide from the heat in the well. Subsequently, Frost in the form of a good magician began to appear in the literary works of other children.

About Russian Santa Claus

He was considered by Russian pre-Christian culture as the personified natural forces. The translation of his name is “Ice Grandfather”, “Cold Grandfather” or “Snow Grandfather”.

Now in Russia there are two projects on the house of Ded Moroz. One of its houses is in the Lapland Biosphere Reserve that has the name “Skazochnaya Laplandiya – Vladeniya Deda Moroza” (it translates as “Story Lapland – the estate of Ded Moroz”).

Another of its houses is in the city Velikiy Ustug and the project has the name “Velikiy Ustug – Rodina Deda Moroza” (it translates as “Velikiy Ustug – the homeland of Ded Moroz”). They say that Ded Moroz is a magician and that is why he can be in two places at the same time. Some tourist trains go to Velikiy Ustug from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Vologda and other Russian cities. He has a long beard, with a staff in his hand and in Valenkah (traditional Russian boots for cold winter). Normally he rides a troyka (a sleigh pulled by three horses).

However, the mysterious grandfather who brought a Christmas tree and gifts did not immediately receive the name of Santa Claus. At different times, it was popular under different names: “old Ruphert” (influence of the German Christmas tradition), “grandfather of the Christmas tree”, “grandfather of the Christmas tree”, “Yolkich”, “Morozko”, however, In the early twentieth century the most popular version of the name Christmas Wizard – Santa Claus.

In the 1910s, Santa Claus began to appear as a participant in the New Year holidays, but soon the good magician had serious problems: in the mid-1920s, Christmas traditions, including the Christmas tree and Santa Claus, they were declared ideologically harmful as part of the state anti-religious company. Elena Dushechkina in her book quotes verses from the children’s song book of 1927, which describes the dialogue between the pioneers and Santa Claus.

When in the second half of the 1930s, the celebration of the New Year began to be promoted at the state level, Santa Claus was completely rehabilitated and became the main character of the morning parties, actively appears in children’s literature. It was at this time that Snegurochka became his constant companion, whose image also has no folklore, but literary origin. Snegurochka as a Christmas character did not have time to fully develop before the revolution, being only a popular Christmas tree toy, however, in the Soviet New Year party, he became a mandatory character; However, in the 1960s, he was sometimes replaced by an astronaut in the Christmas trees of the Kremlin.

Usually Ded Moroz is with his granddaughter Snegurochka, who is wearing a white, blue or silver coat. In Russian mythology Snegurochka was a snow girl who at one time came alive.

On your trip to Moscow you can also visit a Ded Moroz house that also has a Ded Moroz post office there. The house of Ded Moroz was opened in Moscow in 2004. It is in the Kuzminki park in southern Moscow (Kuzminki subway). The territory includes an ice rink; the house of Snegurochka, the theater of Ded Moroz and the terem (the house) of Ded Moroz.

Today, Ded Moroz has completely replaced Santa Claus in Russia as a folk figure. The Russians have made a great effort to renew their ancient traditions and customs to keep their original culture alive.

The house is open all year; but from November 19 to January 19 it is open every day from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with no rest days.

Russian Christmas traditions and much more in GuiaRus !!!

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