RUSSIA: Christmas in January
From Moscow,Cameron Sawyer reports: In Russia, New Year's presents (the Communists transferred the secular aspects of the Christmas festival to New Year's) are brought be Ded Moroz, or Grandfather Frost, who looks quite like our Santa Claus, but comes by troika and is assisted by Snegurochka, his granddaughter, the Snow Maiden, a beautiful Russian girl.
Although Christianity is greatly revived in Russia since the end of Communism, the secular parts of the Christmas festival as we know it have not been reconnected to Christmas and are still celebrated on New Year's Eve, with Christmas itself relegated to the status of a church festival celebrated on January 7 (Easter is the main Christian festival in Russia anyway). St. Nicholas is indeed the patron saint of Russia, as he is of Austria, Belgium, and lots of other places. Why he was replaced in the 19th century by Ded Moroz as the gift-bringer is a mystery to me.
RH: What about Snow Maiden's father and mother?
Ronald Hilton 2004
February 10, 2005