Ded Moroz and Snegurochka


Do You Know the Difference Between Ded Moroz and Santa Claus?

Recently one of my friend form Twitter asked me about Russian Santa Claus – Дед Мороз – Ded Moroz (literally – Granddad Frost). He was interested whether there are any differences and national specifics of this character and I made a small research and found a lot!! So, in this article I’d like to introduce to you this interesting character who is perhaps is the most popular person in Russia – Ded Moroz.

Ded Moroz is the main fabulous character on a New Year’s holiday, which gives presents. Initially, in Slavic mythology, this character represented Russian frosts. Ded Moroz himself was created in the 1930-s by the order of Joseph Stalin when, after several years of restrictions, people were again allowed to celebrate the New Year.

Ded Moroz is usually depicted in red or blue long fur coat with a long white beard and a staff in his hand and valenki (Russian winter boots) on legs. He rides in a sleigh with tree horses (troika). He is mighty, wise and very fond of children. Ded Moroz lives in the Great Ustyug (Velikiy Ustyug) – north of central Russia, where there are a lot of forests and is always cold and a lot of snow.

Usually, Ded Moroz appears in the midst of the holiday – in Russian it’s called the Christmas tree (Новогодняя Ёлка). Children call him the chorus: Дедушка Мороз! (Grandfather Frost!). He comes and asks children to tell poems or sing a song, and gives presents for it. The holiday is always decorated by a dance around (хоровод) the Christmas tree (Ёлка) – all the kids with Ded Moroz, holding hands, are walking around the Christmas tree and singing.

The Russian specifics of Ded Moroz is in the fact that he never comes alone – he is always accompanied by his granddaughter – Снегурочка (Snegourochka) – a very beautiful young girl with long braid. She also gives gifts and having fun with kids.

Thus, the main differences of Ded Moroz and Santa Claus are:

1)      Santa Claus is related to religion, but Ded Moroz isn’t related to religion – originally he was Morozko (he became Ded Moroz after Stain) and he is an image of Russian frost (moroz)

2)      Ded moroz isn’t alone – he is always with his grand-daughter Snegurochka (very nice Russian young woman)

3)      He is riding horses – mostly 3, and not by air (as Santa) but like people

4)      He has red of blue long fur coat, Snegurochka always in blue fur dress

5)      He doesn’t use pipe to enter the house

6)      He usually puts presents under elka (New Years tree)

7)      He lives in Veliky Ustug (north of central Russia) where are a lot of forests and is always cold and a lot of snow


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Oleg Vinzhegin,

Your personal guide into the world of excellent Russian speaking

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