Last night I re-tweeted a lovely picture of the chap above, billed as the Siberian Santa Claus. People seemed to like it. It came from Samantha Lee in New York, whom I don’t know. As is the way of such things, I was half expecting a “well, actually…” tweet this morning. It didn’t come, so I guess all of the mansplainers are down the pub complaining about how it should have been Christmas Adam, not Christmas Eve, and what’s all this about a festival given over to some female giving birth, ewwwwwww! However, as they will doubtless be back at some point, I have done some research.
My Googling first led me to Ded Moroz, Grandfather Frost, who is a character from Russian mythology. You may remember that he is a character in Cat Valente’s wonderful novel, Deathless. He’s a pretty fearsome chap, so to make sure the kids are not frightened he is assisted in his gift-giving by his beautiful granddaughter, Snegurochka the Snow Maiden.
However, most pictures of Ded Moroz have him looking much more like Santa than the chap above. He does sometimes wear blue rather than red, but that may be the work of Stalin who allegedly wanted to make him look different from the Western equivalent.
So who is our Siberian friend? It turns out that he is Chyskhaan, the King of Cold. He is indeed from Siberia, and he shares a lot of characteristics with Ded Moroz, including the beautiful granddaughter. Some things however, are all his own. See those horns on his hat? Yep, mammoth tusks. That’s one bad-ass Santa.
For more information, and a whole lot more Russian gods of the cold (and more pictures like the three I have borrowed), see this wonderful article in The Siberian Times.