Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Belarussian Father Frost is a real Stylish Dandy!

The Belarusian Father Frost is a real Stylish Dandy!

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Everyone both adults and kids know how Santa Claus looks like, don't they? In many Western cultures, Santa Claus is generally a joyous, white-bearded man wearing a long hanging red hat with a white pompon, a red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots. Is that correct?

What is so unique about the outfit of Belarusian Father Frost? In comparison with Western Santa Claus, Father Frost in Belarus has got two outfits: one for winter and the other one for summer, as he operates round the year. The winter outfit includes: a beautiful red hat with a white flap, and a white pompon, a long red coat with white collar and cuffs, red mittens, a broad red belt, and all these garments are covered with golden embroideries. Father Frost also wears black trousers and special magical silver felt boots. Lets look a Little bit closer!

"Father Frost" with his grand daughter the "Snow Maiden"
Standing in his winter outfit

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Father Frost in Summer Outfit! - Pic 1
Standing on his wooden porch!

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Father Frost in his Summer Outfit! - Pic 2
Sitting on his thrown!

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Father Frost in his Summer Outfit! - Pic 3
Hanging around the block! 

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The other summer outfit of Father Frost is much simpler than the previous one. In summer Father Frost can also wear a snow-white flax shirt already with golden patterns, and a golden embroidered belt.

Father Frost checking his list!
He usually is a very busy man

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This year Father Frost has already celebrated his 1771st anniversary and still feels very well, and is always very busy like a bee.

In winter, Father Frost has to check whether the Mother-Winter has brought enough snow to protect all trees, bushes and herbals from big frost, whether animals and birds can find food for themselves under this snow; whether ice on all rivers and lakes is hard enough and not too thick for fish to breath.

In spring Father Frost salutes birds returning from warm overseas countries and helps to find secluded places for their nests.

In summer he has to check whether there are enough rains for plants and flowers to drink; how many mushrooms and berries have grown in Belarusian woods.

And in autumn is the busiest time for Father Frost as he has to find out whether they have picked up crops; whether squirrels, jay-birds and other forest inhabitants have prepared hazelnuts and mushrooms for a long winter; how much honey bees have produced.
It also takes much time and lots of troubles for Father Frost to organize birds and show them the correct route to warm overseas countries. And, certainly, one of the most important tasks of Father Frost is to welcome his dear guests. Father Frost says that he would be living on this earth as long as people believe in him.

So is it "Father Frost!" or...
The Legendary Santa Claus!

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Do you know how people call Father Frost or Santa Claus in different countries?

Certainly, Santa Claus will always remain a legendary, mythical character all over the world, will always bring miracles, joy and smiles to people's homes. It is impossible to celebrate Christmas or New Year without his presence, and his faithful team of 8 reindeer at the head of a red-nosed Rudolph.

In the western culture, Santa Claus is considered to be the personification of the spirit of Christmas and a gift-giving character who manages to make his body very flexible to pass through the chimney, and deliver his presents. There are various names of Father Frost depending on his location in this big world. So, here is a short list of some names of "Father Frost" which people use for calling him in various countries.

  • Dzed Maroz or Dzyadulya Maroz ("Grandfather Frost") - Belarus
  • Ded Moroz or Dedushka Moroz ("Grandfather Frost") - Russia
  • Did Moroz - Ukraine
  • Gwiazdor ("Star Man" or Swiety Mikolaj) - Poland
  • Gaghant Baba - Armenia
  • Baba Chaghaloo - Afghanistan
  •  Babadimri - Albania
  • Deda Mraz - Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  •  Kaledu Senelis - Lithuania
  • Jouluvana - Estonia
  • Mikulas (St. Nicholas) - Hungary
  • Mos Craciun - Romania
  • Diado Koleda - Bulgaria
  • Père Noël - France, Belgium, French Canada
  • Weihnachtsmann (Christmas Man or Nikolaus) - Germany
  • Kriss Kingle ("Christ Child") - Austria
  • Papá Noël - Spain
  • Pai Natal - Portugal
  • Babbo Natale - Italy
  • San Niklaw - Malta
  •  Father Christmas - England
  •  Daidi na Nollaig - Ireland
  •  Sion Corn - Wales
  • Daidain na Nollaig - Scottish Highlands
  • Julemand - Denmark
  • Julenissen ("Christmas gnome") - Norway
  • Jultomten - Sweden
  • Joulupukki - Finland
  • Santa Claus - the USA, Canada, Jamaica
  • Kanakaloka - Hawaii
  • Papai Noël - Brazil
  • Viejo Pascuero ("Old Man Christmas") - Chile
  • El Nino Jesus - Costa Rica
  • Vader Kersfees - South Africa, Iraq
  • Baba Noël - Iran
  • Papa Noël - Egypt
  •  Noel Baba - Turkey
  •  Aghios Vassilis - Greece
  •  Dun Che Lao Ren ("Old Christmas Man") - China
  • Hoteiosho - Japan

Did you know Santa Claus?
 Let us share a small piece of history with you

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By the way, the image of Santa Claus emerged due to the significant influence of the poem "A visit from St. Nicholas" written by American author Clement Clarke Moore and published in New York, in 1863 and due to the caricature of that St. Nicholas created by German-born American caricaturist. For the first time the caricature of St. Nicholas became famous both in the USA and Canada only. All the time the image has been maintained, and reinforced through radio, television, songs, films, and children's books. As a result this image has become widespread in different countries. Can you recognize modern Santa Claus in the caricature of St. Nicholas?

Some Interesting Facts!
  1. Did you know what Father Frost is called in Eastern Europe?
  2. Where did Father Frost's Image and the Snow Maiden's Images come into existence?
  3. Why in the Eastern Europe does Father Frost come on New Year but not on Christmas Eve?
...Lets answer these for you!

Father Frost or Ded Moroz!
Drawn by the famous Russian Artist "Viktor Vasnecov"

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Father Frost or Dedushka Moroz is how people call him in Belarus. He is a fabulous character in Eastern Europe, similar to the Western Christmas gift giver - Santa Claus. In Slavic mythology, he is the personification of Winter Frost.
The image of Eastern Father Frost came into existence due to the influence of the fairy-tail "Moroz Ivanovich" written by the famous Russian author Vladimir Odoevsky in 1840, and due to the picture "Ded Moroz" ("Father Frost") drawn by famous Russian artist Viktor Vasnecov. According to this fairy-tail, Father Frost, whose name is Moroz Ivanovich, is a kind grey-haired old man. His hair is covered with white frost, as Moroz Ivanovich lives in an ice kingdom, to which children can get through a magic well. One day, Moroz Ivanovich was passing by through a village and saw a house there in which 2 small sisters lived with their old grandma. Of both sister, one was very kind and hardworking but the other was obnoxious, lazy and didn't help in any of the work around the house. So Moroz Ivanovich decided to teach a lesson to this lazy girl. One day, the hard working sister asked her younger sister to go to the well and fill the bucket with water. While she was pulling the bucket up the well, she was pulled up with the rope in the air due to the weight of the water & the bucket. She started crying and calling out for her sister who immediately rushed to her but Moroz Ivanovich saw what was happening and sent in a snowstorm which took both of them down the well to his ice kingdom. 

In this way, both the sisters got acquainted with Moroz Ivanovich. Now when they reached below, Moroz Ivanovich met with them and told them that they now had to live with him for sometime, helping with the chores of the home that they were to stay in with him. Everyday, he would give them both different orders. For e.g. to cook the food, make his bed, wash his clothes etc. While he was away, he use to creep into his home quietly, and look through the window to asses how they both were doing, just to see if they really obeyed his orders but the lazy girl still found an excuse to avoid herself from doing the given work. The time came when the sisters were to return back to their old grandma and be paid according to their work that they were told to do. So to the hard working girl, he gifted her with a beautiful winter hat and mittens but to the lazy one a beautiful necklace. He also sent a gift with them for their old grandma, a nice woolen shawl. The girls returned back to their home through the same way and passed on the gift for their grandma to her as well. However, after observing each others gifts, the lazy sister commented on the type of gift her hard working sister was given as well as to her grandma, and that her gift was the best of all. On saying this, her beautiful necklace melted. On this the other sister, to cheer her lazy sister up, gave her own mittens and winter hat that made her very happy. She went running out with joy to fetch a bucket of water, forgetting that it was cold and winter time just to make tea for her good sister and her old grandma. On this Moroz Ivanovich saw her change of attitude and returned her the beautiful necklace that made her very happy once again.

Moroz Ivanovich and the 2 little sisters!

Video credit: Sergey Okorochkov

The Russian Folk Fairy Tale! "Morozko!"
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The Russian Folk Fairy Tale! 
'Nastenka' - from the tale of 'Morozko'

However, the other Russian folk fairy-tail "Morozko" had a greater and much stronger influence on the image of The Eastern Father Frost: "... A woman had a stepdaughter, and a daughter of her own, but she hated her stepdaughter. The stepdaughter's name was Nastenka. The old woman use to get all the chores of the house done through her, and pamper her own daughter with sweets and untimely rest. One day a groom was visiting the old woman's home to choose a daughter to be his bride, and the old woman wanted her own daughter to be privileged for the position so she dressed her own daughter with beautiful clothes and put makeup on her face but with her step daughter she covered her with rags and soiled her face with charcoal so that she looked ugly. However, the parents of the groom came to know of the truth when they asked the old woman's daughter to feed their son with a meal of his choice, and she was to bring in geese liver for him. The proposal was rejected and they saw Nastenka all beautiful which made the groom choose her instead. The old women relented to that decision and told her husband to take Nastenka to the cold frosty woods, and leave her there as she came in between all the proposals that came in for her own daughter. The husband obeyed his wife's command, fulfilled her order, and left poor Nastenka under a big fir-tree in a snowdrift. While wandering around the same forest, Father Frost found the frozen Nastenka, and asks her whether she was not feeling cold due to the cold snowy winter in the wilderness. Nastenka in return, replied to him in a nice and polite manner that she was quite warm and appreciated him asking her at which Father Frost liked very much. He covered her with his own coat and took her to his own home on a magic sleigh. There he left her to enjoy her time while he went on his business in the forest. Unfortunately when he was roaming the forest and seeing the beauty of the trees. He found a lonely green tree still yet to be covered with frost. He searched for his pikestaff but he had forgotten it at home so he hurried back to get it only to find Nastenka lying on the floor frozen as she had touched it and frozen. The story has many angles and twist with an entrance of a boastful young man who later wanders in search of his destiny and is humbled by experiences on the way. He later falls in love with Nastenka and is the reason to revive her from from the spell. Anyway, Father Frost sends them both on their way with a chest full of beautiful things and fine garments. They both reach home and are welcomed by their father but the stepmother and the daughter are not pleased and are taunted by the neighbors of their wickedness and behavior to her stepdaughter who was a blessing to them. The old woman decided to send her daughter to the woods and so she sent her own daughter into the wilderness. However, their daughter was very ill-mannered, and was not like the stepdaughter. She too came across meeting Father Frost but was very rude to him. This made him upset and he sent her back with a box of crows and a sleigh pulled by pigs. Nastenka and her husband "Ivanushka" lived happily in their own palace and were well praised for their deeds and humbleness. You can see now that the Eastern Father Frost is a very much a mythical character, who brings gifts only for good children who are kind and polite to him and the people around them!

  The Russian Folk Fairy Tale! "Morozko!" 
Video credit: Anya Nya

The Snow Maiden Princess

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Before, Father Frost had a light-blue long winter coat, and hat. But nowadays he prefers to wear a red heel-length fur coat, the gift from his Western friend - Santa Claus.

Father Frost is always inseparable from his granddaughter - Snow-maiden, whose name in Eastern Europe is "Snegurochka". She wears a light-blue or silver fur-coat. 

The Snow Maiden is also a fabulous figure from the traditional Slavic mythology, and her emergence is closely connected with the Russian folklore. If to be correct then it takes its roots from the Russian folk fairy-tail "The Snow Maiden". Once upon a time a peasant Ivan lived with his wife Maria in a village. They lived in love, and harmony till they became old. The only thing that made them sad was that they did not have a child. One day when winter came, and brought lots of snow with it. Ivan and Maria went out of the house, and decided to make a beautiful doll from snow. The next morning when Ivan and Maria went out, they were very surprised. They saw that their snow doll had become alive moving her face, hands and legs. She was a beautiful blue-eyed girl with fair hair wearing a nice silver hat, and fur-coat. The old couple was very happy and grateful to God for giving them a daughter. Ivan and Maria called her "Snegurochka" (Snow Maiden)".

The image of the Snow Maiden also emerged, a sincere thanks to the famous Russian artist Viktor Vasnecov, who drew the picture of the "Snow Maiden" the year 1899.

Father Frost of the East!
The New Year Tree and Its Celebrations

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In Eastern Europe, Father Frost also delivers gifts to kids. However, unlike the Western Santa Claus, gifts are often delivered in person on the 31st of December: at New Year's Eve parties, and on other New Year celebrations. That's why the tree, under which people can find their presents, is called a "New Year Tree"  not a Christmas Tree! 

Q. Why in the Eastern Europe does Father Frost come on New Year but not on Christmas Eve?
Well, there is an explanation that in this part of the region, the Father Frost is considered to be the personification of Frost, and winter, like a wizard you can say, and this fact contradicts Christianity. The Church says that Father Frost is to be considered as the spirit of Christmas, and must essentially be able to produce official historical documents where it would mentioned the details of his baptism.

These are the facts that prevail here, and may not match the views and ways that the west accepts him. There is a famous saying: "Every country has its own customs and traditions". Right? 

Father Frost on his Sleigh pulled by his faithful white horses!
His main mode of transport... 

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Q. Do you know what the main transport means of Father Frost in Eastern Europe?  
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In Western culture, 'Santa Claus' favorite transport means is a sleigh pulled by a team of flying reindeer. By the way, do you remember how many reindeer Santa Claus has, and what their names are?
'Santa Claus' sleigh is led by nine beautiful reindeer, whose names are:
o Dasher,
o Dancer,
o Prancer,
o Vixen,
o Comet,
o Cupid,
o Donner,
o Blitzen,
o And then the head of the team - Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Unlike his Western friend, Father Frost's favorite transport means is a sleigh pulled by his three faithful white horses. This team is called "Troika" in Eastern Europe. Like 'Santa Claus' reindeer, the three horses of Father Frost have also names. There is a famous Russian song about "Troika" - the three white horses. "...Three White Horses, Three White Horses: December, January, February, are taking me to a snowy distance..." as it is sung in the song.  

As you have understood the names of three faithful friends of Father Frost are:
o December,
o January,
o and February.

They are considered to be the personification of three winter months. By the way, the word "Troika" in Russian means an old Russian way of harnessing of three horses: with two in a line and the other at the head. It was created especially for long-distance trips.

Welcome to the Father Frost Residence!
The kingdom of fairy tales 

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Father Frost and the Snow Maiden!
Welcoming visitors to the Father Frost Residence

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