Yes I can just see Bing Crosby dressed up in his aiyr kalpak – a high pointed cap with a divided turn-up, singing “I’m Dreaming of a Kazak Christmas” or Alvin and the Chipmunks donning their borik – a rounded warm cap, trimmed with astrakhan otter, marten or raccoon fur doing their perennial replay of “Christmas Don’t be Late”.
The commercial aspects of the holiday are pretty similar to the U.S. with the stores putting out ornaments and huge quantities of alcohol right after Halloween. I’ve already told you it’s a commercial society here. The two principle characters you see are Snegurochka – The Snow Maiden in a Russian children’s book and Ded Moroz – the Russian Santa. Snegurochka is Santa’s Granddaughter.
Snegurochka is a character in Russian fairy tales. In one story, she is the daughter of Spring and Frost, who yearns for the companionship of mortal humans. She grows to like a shepherd named Lel, but her heart is unable to know love. Her mother takes pity and gives her this ability, but as soon as she falls in love, her heart warms up and she melts.
This version of the story was made into a play by Alexandr Ostrovsky, with incidental music by Tchaikovsky. In 1878 the composer Léon Minkus and the Balletmaster Marius Petipa staged a ballet adaptation of Snegurochka titled The Daughter of the Snows for the Tsar’s Imperial Ballet. The tale was also adapted into an opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov known as The Snow Maiden. Ruth Sanderson retold the story in the picture book The Snow Princess, in which falling in love does not immediately kill the princess, but turns her into a mortal human, who will die. – HT to Wikipedia for this capsule of info.
Nowadays her M.O. as Ded Moroz’s helper is the one that is put in the stores and on buildings. Nadia received a visit from Ded Moroz and Snegurochka last Christmas at a friend’s home and was duly impressed………it’s all for the kids. Right?
Well sort of. The gifting frenzy is pretty amazing here. The stores are loaded with things guaranteed to please anyone – even Boca Babes in their MB Brabus hotrods would oh and ah!……
The Lynn’s are making the trip to Yekaterinburg this winter to be with Sophie’s family. It’s been 10 winters since I’ve celebrated the holiday with Russians in Russia. We will take Nadia to the ice palace in the central square, sip champagne and brandy as the new year dawns and be obliging to the commercial instincts of Snegurochka, giving gifts and receiving (I’m holding out for a new fur hat – prefer chocolate mink to color match with my leather jacket).
We’re taking the 50 hour train from Almaty to Yekaterinburg. I’m not sure how it will be with a child for 50 hours on a train. We’ve reserved a full coupe for four, so we can stretch out, take along the computer to play movies, the new boom box we have that has incredible sound and kick back and see how many hours it takes for Nadia to drive two grown adults stark raving CRAZY. We will pack math games and other stuff to keep her occupied and keep us stimulated as well.
More later on the trip……………….
Bit and Pieces:
î Nadia feeling better. Has her Nanny (hopefully through the end of the month) when we leave for Yekat. Her tummy is kinda a mess but she seems to be over the worst of the deal.
î I suffered at the hands of my wife’s people again yesterday. I went to pick up the visa for Nadia and me from the Russian Consulate. Fight the gate, wait for the KGB/FSB type to give you the nod when the gate opens. My feet got really cold – had on work shoes and not my winter hiking boots and had to stand outside waiting for 1 ½ hours before getting that “nod”. I kid Sophie about being subjected to the indignities by “her people”. She freely admits their faults and tells me to get tough.
î Ron, you should see all of Ded Moroz’s little girl helpers in the stores……My oh my!