Santa Claus vs Дед Мороз: 5 important differences

Santa Claus vs Дед Мороз

Santa Claus and Дед Мороз have several external similarities. Both of them are elderly men. Both of them necessarily have a white beard, and they give gifts to children who have behaved well all year. However, cultural and historical differences have left their mark on these characters.


Santa Claus

The history of Santa Claus begins with St. Nicholas, who lived in the IV century in the World (the modern Turkey territory). In the X, St. Nicholas Day began to be celebrated in the Netherlands, especially it was customary to give gifts to children. In addition, already in the XVII century, this character came to the USA, and two centuries later transformed into Santa Claus, who began to come to the children on Christmas, December 25.

Santa Claus vs Дед Мороз

Many centuries ago, Дед Мороз (Grandfather Frost) was named Морозко. He was a powerful and frost and ice cruel god, married to the same relentless winter. He could freeze people and landscapes at will. In some stories, he was capricious and unpredictable, and the newly created Russian Orthodox Church tried to brand him as a demon along with other pagan gods. Nevertheless, most often he appeared to be a wise and impartial old man who could punish only for serious offenses.

Christmas in Russia is a religious holiday more, but the New Year is celebrated on a grand scale. For the first time, Дед Мороз appeared as a New Year’s character on the 1936 eve, when it was decided to hold Christmas trees.

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Marital status

Santa Claus has Mrs. Claus, and Дед Мороз has a granddaughter Снегурочка (Snow Maiden), from the word “snow”. Mrs. Claus is a living person, flesh, and blood made. Usually she appears as a good-natured, plump woman of middle or elderly age; her hair is gray or red.

However, Снегурочка is snow made, with predictable consequences. Before the connection with Дед Мороз, she appeared in several Russian fairy tales, which each ended with her melting.


Santa Claus vs Дед Мороз

The classic Santa costume includes red trousers tucked into black boots trimmed with white fur, a red jacket with white edging (and necessarily a hood), a black belt with a golden buckle, a red cap with a white pompom. Santa Claus often wears glasses.

Santa Claus vs Дед Мороз

The Деда Мороза outfit colour is different: he can appear in blue or white, as well as in red. But this is not the main difference. In his clothes, Дед Мороз should look more like a Russian nobleman before Western influence. His coat is not just trimmed with white: it is typically richly embroidered with white or gold patterns. A traditional fur hat and felt boots complement the picture — you will not see Деда Мороза in Santa’s hat.


Everyone knows that Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, but I can’t say exactly where: every country bordering the Arctic Ocean declares the Santa’s workshop location or postal address.

Деда Мороза, on the contrary, is very easy to find: his house is located in Veliky Ustyug, a few hours’ drive north of Moscow. In addition, at the December beginning every year, children are reminded that it’s time to write a letter to Дед Мороз. Moreover, even if you make a little mistake with the address (incorrectly specify the street or house number), the postmen still know where to carry correspondence for Дедушки (Grandpa).



Santa Claus moves on a flying sleigh driven by reindeer. There are nine deer in total, and their names are Dasher / Dasher (Потрясающий), Dancer / Dancer (Танцор), Prancer / Prenser (Гарцующий), Vixen/ Vixen (Лисица), Cupid / Cupid (Амур), Comet /Comet, Donder /Donder, Donner or Dander (Гром), Blitzen / Blitze or Blixem (Молниеносный)), Rudolph /Рудольф.


Like a real Russian aristocrat, Дед Мороз rides on a three—sled drawn by three white horses, symbolizing the winter three months. Russian children do not need to pronounce the names of all Santa’s reindeer, their task to remember the Деда Мороза horses names has been made easier thanks to a popular song.

And they take me away, and they take me away

Into  ringing snowy distance

Three white horses, eh, three white horses —

December, January, and February.

As you can see, there are many differences between Western Santa Claus and Russian Дед Мороз. Nevertheless, there is one main similarity — they come to give a holiday to children!

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