Russian language, culture, history, traditions

Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost)

Ded Moroz (Father Frost, or Grandfather Frost) is the key character of the New Year in Russia. He wears a long red fur coat embroidered with traditional ornaments, a red hat embroidered with pearls, white mittens and valenki.   Ded Moroz lives in Velikiy Ustyug in Vologda oblast. Since 1999 Velikiy Ustyug is a tourist […]

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Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost)

Russian language, culture, history, traditions

Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost)

Ded Moroz (Father Frost, or Grandfather Frost) is the key character of the New Year in Russia. He wears a long red fur coat embroidered with traditional ornaments, a red hat embroidered with pearls, white mittens and valenki.  

Ded Moroz lives in Velikiy Ustyug in Vologda oblast. Since 1999 Velikiy Ustyug is a tourist business project where people from Russia and other countries come. Ded Moroz’s estate is located in the forest, 11 kilometres away from the city, and this place was recognized as Ded Moroz’s birthplace for its rich history, beautiful architecture, and the beauty of its nature.

You can always recognize Russian Ded Moroz because of his thick and long white beard, red nose and rosy cheeks. He always leans on his pikestaff, and he carries a bag with gifts.  Ded Moroz is always accompanied by his granddaughter Snegurochka (Snow Maiden) who helps him to play with kids. They travel from one city to another, give gifts to good kids and ignore the bad ones.

Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost)

Despite a few similar details, such as a snow-white beard, clothes and handing out gifts, Ded Moroz accompanied by Snegurochka in Russia and Santa Claus with his assistants-dwarfs in the West are two completely different characters.

A modern Russian Ded Moroz originates from a more ancient Morozko or Moroz krasnyy nos (Frost Red Nose) who were characters in Russian fairy-tales.

Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost)

In Russian fairy-tales Ded Moroz represents a strict but fair spirit of winter. For example, in a popular fairy-tale “Morozko”, Mozoko gave gifts to a kind and hard-working girl, although he froze to death a mean girl.  Therefore, even today in many northern countries there is a custom to appease Ded Moroz at Christmas and try not to make him angry.

Here, there are a few congratulations people usually say at Christmas. In Russia, people celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar on January 6-7. So, if you are going to celebrate Christmas with your Russian friends, you should know what to say to each other.

Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost)  Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost)

Traditional words are: “S rozhdyestvom Hristovym!” (“Congratulations on the birth of Christ!”).

You can also say: “S prazdnikom!” (“Happy holiday!”) or “Schastlivogo Rozhdestva!” (“Merry Christmas!”).

After having read this article you now know some facts about Russian Ded Moroz, and how to congratulate people at Christmas.

Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost)

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