01 January 2009

Ded Moroz, Snegurochka usher in 2009

Grandfather Frost and his granddaughter, Snow Maiden, led the Kyrgyz Defense Ministry’s brass band in the New Year’s parade on the last day of the year in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. In the culture of the eastern Slavs, “Ded Moroz” brings presents to children, but unlike the secretive Santa, he often brings them in person at the celebrations of the New Year, often at parties by the New Year Tree. Ded Moroz, who is typically accompanied by “Snegurochka,” his granddaughter, resembles Santa Claus. But unlike Santa, he walks with a long staff, does not say "ho, ho, ho," and drives a troika, a three horse-drawn sled instead of a sleigh pulled by reindeer. (BBC News photo)