Ded Moroz’s Birthday in Russia Date in the current year: November 18, 2024

Ded Moroz’s Birthday in Russia Ded Moroz’s birthday is an unofficial holiday celebrated in Russia on November 18 every year. It is dedicated to one of the most popular and revered characters of East Slavic folklore, who has become an important part of Russian culture and a symbol of the winter holiday season.

Ded Moroz (literally translated as Grandfather Frost) is normally considered to be synonymous with Father Christmas, Santa Claus, Père Noël, Weihnachtsmann, and other personifications of Christmas in Western cultures, but his origins are rooted in Slavic paganism.

Originally named Morozko (a diminutive for Frost), he was a personification of frost, snow, and winter in general. Depending on the situation, Morozko could be malicious or benevolent. In a popular folk tale, he saved a girl who was left in the forest by her father at her stepmother’s behest and punished her evil and greedy stepmother and stepsister. According to some sources, Morozko was the son of Veles (the god of earth, waters and the underworld) and Mara (the goddess of seasonal rites and the rebirth of nature).

The character of Morozko was transformed into Ded Moroz under the influence of the Orthodox Church. By the end of the 19th century, Ded Moroz had become a personification of the Christmas holiday season. Following the Russian Revolution, he was briefly banned since communists condemned everything religion-related.

However, the character was “rehabilitated” in 1935, when the Soviet Government replaced the celebration of Christmas with the celebration of New Year. It is then that Ded Moroz became the character that Russian children know and love.

Ded Moroz is typically depicted as a tall man with white hair and a white beard, wearing a heel-length fur coat (usually red, but sometimes blue), a fur-trimmed hat of the same color, mittens, and valenki (felt boots). He usually has a sack with presents and a long magic stuff.

Unlike his western counterparts, Ded Moroz has a female companion named Snegurochka (Snow Maiden), who is considered to be his granddaughter. This character doesn’t have deep mythological roots and became popular thanks to Alexander Ostrovsky’s play entitled The Snow Maiden, which is based on a fairy tale. She usually wears a blue or silver fir-trimmed coat, a furry cap or a snowflake-like crown inspired by the kokoshnik (a traditional Russian headdress), white mittens, and white boots.

The tradition of celebrating Ded Moroz’s birthday originated in 2005 in Veliky Ustyug, a town that was declared the official residence of Ded Moroz in the late 1990s. It is celebrated on November 18 because it is believed that on this day, the weather in Veliky Ustyug turns to winter and the holiday season begins.

On Ded Moroz’s birthday, children are encourage to write him letters, congratulating him on his birthday and asking for New Year’s presents. All mail addressed to Ded Moroz arrives at a dedicated post office in Veliky Ustyug, where employees answer as many letters as they can. Between 2003 and 2010, the post received about 2 million letters from all over Russia and abroad!

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