Дед Мороз (Ded Moroz) is the Russian Santa Claus. Its name means “Grandpa Frost” but is commonly translated by “Father Frost”. As his western colleague, he brings presents to the children, but not in a secret way. He likes to arrive on Christmas parties organised by schools or different organisations taking care of children.
He is usually accompanied by Снегурочка (Snegurochka) which means “Snow Maiden” his granddaughter. In opposition of Santa Claus, Дед Мороз comes on New Year.
Дед Мороз is dressed as Santa Claus with a long coat, usually a fur one, and a fur hat too. He wears валенки (valenki) high boots made from wool felt. But unlike his colleague, he drives a тройка (troika), a traditional Russian carriage pulled by three horses, and walks with a long magic stick.
At the time of the Soviet Union, Дед Мороз lived on the North Pole, but since 1999, on the initiative of the then mayor of Moscow, Юрий Лужков (Youri Lujkov), his official residence has been moved to the town of Великий Устюг (Veliky Ustyug) in the region of Vologda, about 1000 km North-West of Moscow.
Дед Мороз, originally issued from pagan beliefs, языческие убеждения (yazychtskie ubezhdeniya) was a wicked and cruel sorcerer who would kidnap children in exchange of a ransom, and freeze people who annoyed him. But after the 1917 Revolution, all religious celebrations were banned, including Christmas Рождество (razhdestvo).
To circumvent the law, Russian re-invented a New Year Новый Год (Novyi god) holiday tradition, with a decorated Christmas tree and Дед Мороз, who took the appearance close to the western Santa Claus. He changed his bad habits to become a decent grandfather that brings presents to children.
You can visit the house of Дед Мороз.