Snegurochka (Снегурочка), the Snow Maiden

After the 1917 Revolution, Christmas was banned throughout Russia, along with other religious celebrations. The Russian people were concerned about giving up their traditional Christmas celebration.  So they re-invented the New Year's holiday tradition to include a decorated tree, and introduced a character called "Grandfather Frost." Known as "Ded Moroz," Grandfather Frost looked very much like the western "Santa Claus"  - except he wears a blue suit. Snegurochka (Снегурочка), or the Snow Maiden is often depicted as the helper or granddaughter of Father Frost.

Snegurochka is often the found in Russian Fairy Tales. In one story, she is the daughter of Spring and Frost, She falls for 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. In another version she becomes a mortal princess and lives out her life to a ripe old age.

My favorite version is the one of a woodcutter and his wife who were childless. They make a girl out of snow, who comes to life.  Their many endings to this tale but many agree that even though Snegurochka, melts, each year in winter, on the first day of the New Year, she and Grandfather Frost return to Russia and visit children, bringing them gifts and helping them to make their dreams come true, as they did for the woodcutter and his wife.

Labels: , ,