Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Happy Birthday, Ded Moroz!

18th November marks the birthday of Ded Moroz.

"Ded who?" I hear you ask.

Ded Moroz, as he is known in Mother Russia, or Grandfather Frost, as he is also known further afield.

Grandfather Frost, by Tony Hough.

Morozko was once a powerful and cruel god of frost and ice, married to the equally unforgiving Winter. He could freeze people and landscapes at will, including entire invading armies, and while he could be capricious and unpredictable, he was also known for being wise and impartial.

With the coming of Christianity Ded Moroz was recast as a snow demon but, over time, turned into a kind of Slavic wizard of winter. Under the influence of Orthodox traditions, the character was transformed again and, during the Soviet era, become the main symbol of the New Year's holiday – Novey God – that replaced Christmas.

Today Grandfather Frost is depicted as bringing presents to well-mannered children, frequently delivering them in person on New Year’s Eve.

According to a newly created legend, Ded Moroz was born on 18th November in Veliky Ustyug, a small town in the Vologda region of Russia.

Veliky Ustyug, Russia.

The date of the magician's birthday was chosen by weather chart makers as their long-term observations register that on that very day the ground of Veliky Ustyug is usually covered with a heavy snow blanket. However, no one knows his exact age. Although experts insist his career began more than 150 years ago, the first mentions of his appearance in noble Russian families on Christmas and New Year's Eve date back to the beginning of the 19th century.

The celebration takes place at Ded Moroz' Votchina, a few miles outside Veliky Ustyug. Festive performances, fireworks, sport events and concerts are part of the program. As usual, on this special occasion Ded Moroz welcomes his friends - holiday-season miracle-makers, wonderland creatures and helpers from Russian regions and former CIS-states. On the exact day of his birthday party, Ded Moroz lights the first fir-tree lamps and sets out from his fiefdom, congratulating the people of Russia on New Year's Eve.

Ded Moroz and friends.

Grandfather Frost makes an appearance in 'TWAS - The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas, which is coming to DriveThruRPG soon!

'TWAS - The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas.

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