Russian New Year’s Characters: Ded Moroz and Snegurochka

Posted on December 31st, 2012

Ded Moroz and SnegurochkaNew Year is almost here! I love New Year celebration! But then… all Russians do! :)
This is true, as New Year is the biggest holiday in Russian culture.

From the previous Christmas lessons you know that the tree is decorated for New Year’s eve, and not for Christmas in Russia. You also know that Дед Мороз [DYED ma-ROS] or Дедушка Мороз [DYE-doosh-ka ma-ROS] (Grandfather Frost) and Снегурочка [snee-GOO-rach-ka] (Snow Maiden) bring us presents at midnight on New Year’s eve. If you haven’t had a chance to see previous videos, you can watch them now:

You can also read this article about all of the Russian traditions of New Year celebration, including traditional yummy New Year’s eve dishes, and find out about the correct way to make a wish on New Year’s eve to make it definitely come true! – Russian New Year Celebration.

Here is the new video where I’m telling you all of the secrets about the Russian New Year celebration (watch out for the wicked Ded Moroz and learn how to make a wish on New Year’s eve, so that it definitely comes true! :)  :

Today I will tell you a little bit more about the Russian New Year characters – Дед Мороз and Снегурочка.

Let’s Start with Дед Мороз

Russian Ded Moroz

Дед Мороз
Художник – Виктор Васнецов
1885 год

So, do you think that Дедушка Мороз has always been a very kind old man who brought gifts on New Year’s eve? Actually, the earliest tales of Ded Moroz presented him as a very bad guy… as someone who really liked to freeze people and kidnap little children, taking them away in his big sack…

His predecessors could have been several wicked spirits popular among the early Slavs. For example, god Позвизд [PO-zvizd] Pozvizd – a god responsible for storms and bad weather, or god Зимник [ZEEM-neek] Zimnik, who looked like a short old man with white hair and grey beard. People were afraid of Зимник because they believed that everywhere he goes – there will be very very cold.

God Карачун [ka-ra-CHOON] Karachun was known as a wicked spirit who made people’s lives shorter, and he was the god of the underground kingdom, who was in charge of all frosts.

Later he was known as Старец Севера [sta-RYETS SYE-vye-ra] Starets Severa and he was a wicked man who used to freeze people and snatch children. At that time, children’s parents had to give him presents in return for their children. So, no, at that time he was not the kind of grandpa who would give out presents to the little kids…

Slowly his image has changed over the years, and in the 19th century he became a kind old man. First mention of him as a kind guy was in the tale written by Владими Фёдорович Одоевский – «Мороз Иванович», where he was portrayed as a nice old man, but he still existed separately from the Christmas tree and the whole Christmas celebration. He didn’t give any presents on Christmas or New Year, but he did reward good kids. You can watch this tale on YouTube – Russian Tale “Moroz Ivanovich.”

At the beginning of the 20th century Дед Мороз has become a character known nowdays – a very kind old man who brings gifts first on Christmas and later on New Year’s eve.

Russian Snegurochka – Снегурочка

Снегурочка is also an essential part of Russian New Year’s celebrations. She is a very kind sweet and unique Russian character.

Snegurochka

Снегурочка
Художник – Виктор Васнецов
1899 год

According to one of the tales she was a daughter of an old man and woman who didn’t have any children, but wanted to have children so badly, that they decided to make a girl out of snow and call her Snegurochka. She loved winter, and in spring, when the sun started melting the snow away, she became very sad. One day she was playing with her friends who playfully jumping over the fire, they invited her to jump and she jumped, but as soon as she did, she melted and turned into a cloud…
You can watch Russian cartoon “Snegurochka” on YouTube.

In the 19th century Снегурочка has become a very well known character, when Александр Островский wrote a play “Снегурочка” about Snegurochka, where she was the daughter of Frost and Spring, and wanted to experience love more then anything else. But as soon as she fell in love, she melted and turned into a cloud.

Modern Snegurochka appeared at the beginning of the 20th century as a granddaughter of Дед Мороз who brings presents on Christmas and later on the New Years eve.

Both these Russian New Year’s eve characters are loved dearly in Russian culture. Parents like to dress like Дед Мороз and Снегурочка on New Year’s eve and bring presents for their kids. Yes, my parents did that too! :)

The magic of the Russian New Year celebration will always be in my heart. Although, I know that a New Year’s tree is really a Christmas tree, and that New Year’s gifts are really Christmas gifts, I love the Russian New Year’s celebration the way it is for it’s magic and the hope it brings to every home, every family, and every person. A hope for better times, better jobs, better love lives, better experiences, and better futures. It’s as if with the New Year, a fresh page of your life begins, where you will see all of your most dear and cherished New Year’s wishes come true.

С Новым Годом, дорогие друзья! С Новым Счастьем! И пусть в Новом Году обязательно сбудутся все ваши самые заветные мечты!
Happy New Year, dear friends! Wishing you new Happiness! And I hope that all of your most cherished dreams will come true in the next year!

Don’t forget to make a wish at midnight!

Thank you all for your great support, my dear readers! I will see you next year! :)

Truly Yours,

Viktoria

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