image of a poster in Moscow
What is special about the New Year celebration in Russia? – No, not the amout of vodka being taken upon, although Russia is notoriously famous for that.
There is something just opposite to the vulgar tradition of collectively getting drunk – there is a tradition of a sweet innocence, accopanying the arrivial of the New Year… So what is it then?
Ded Moroz (“Grandfather Frost”) is pretty much similar to Santa Claus, However, unlike the secretive ways of Santa Claus, he often brings presents in person, at the celebrations of the New Year, at New Year parties for kids by the New Year Tree. Generally, the traditional appearance of Ded Moroz has a close resemblance to that of Santa Claus, with his coat, boots and long white beard. Specifically, Ded Moroz wears a heel-long fur coat, a semi-round fur hat, and white valenki or high boots (sapogi), silver or red with silver ornament. Unlike Santa Claus, he walks with a long magical staff, does not say “Ho, ho, ho,” and drives no reindeer but a troika.
These are basically some differences which are rather understandable. But there is a female figure next to Ded Moroz – which is a very Russian tradition, not known anywhere around the Chrisitian world (didn`t I mention in my earlier posts, the attitude to women is special in Russia?)…
Ded Moroz is being accompanied by Snegurochka(” Snow Maiden”, his granddaughter). She is a beautiful (young) girl with a long blond plate wearing white or light blue fur-coat.
She is helping her grandfather to visit all the children and normally she comes up shortly before his arrival and makes children call him out loud. She has a sweet and innocent character and it is actually unknown how and why such a person appeared on Ded Moroz`s side. Little is known about this admirable person. There are 2 different legends, telling about the origin of Sengurochka.
In one story, she is the daughter of Spring and Frost, who yearns for the companionship of mortal humans. She grows to like a shepherd named Lel, but her heart is unable to know love. Her mother takes pity and gives her this ability, but as soon as she falls in love, her heart warms up and she melts.
In a different version an old couple make a girl out of snow, who turns into a living being. She grows up quickly. A group of girls invite her for a walk in the woods, after which they make a small fire and take turns leaping over it. When Snegurochka’s turn comes, she starts to jump, but only gets halfway before evaporating into a small cloud.
Whatever is the origin and the purpose of that archetype, Snegurochka -like a snow-angel, sparkling with innocence, joy and purity – remains a special, wonderful symbol of the everlasting child and a hope for the new beautiful life…
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU, AND YOU, AND YOU
– and EVERYONE!!!
LOVE & HUG,