Russia and Armenia, Eastern Europe
Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost) lives with his granddaughter Snegurochka (The Snowmaiden) in Russia. Grandfather Frost doesn’t enjoy Christmas as he feels that his identity has been taken away from him. He looks exactly like Santa Claus; however, he wears exotic clothes and his white bread dance and glide like wild flames. He is often mistaken for Grandfather Winter too, who lives at the top of Mount Ararat.
Armenians have a tough task ahead of them as they fight to fast for three days leading up to Christmas Eve. The aches and dizzy spells experienced by many are satisfied to know that after the ordeal, their stomachs would have reached a higher plane; they believe it will now become ‘pure’.
Santa Claus is always late in Armenia, although the children are not happy and thought that they had been forgotten; he always makes it on time for New Year’s Eve to renew hope once more.
Georgia and Ukraine, Eastern Europe
In Georgia, it seems Santa Claus has stolen another identity. Georgians call him ‘tovlis papa’ (Grandfather Snow).
Like Poland, Ukraine starts their holy supper when the first star appears. I still don’t know how they pick the first star.
Angels decided to bring the children their presents as Santa Claus (more accurately his reindeers) didn’t know how to get to Ukraine. Well, that’s what Santa said, he blamed it on the reindeers.
(to be continued …)
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