Thursday, January 29, 2009

From Our Moscow Bureau

"S Novym Godom!" is Russian for Happy New Year. It's pronounced "Snowman's Scrotum" (at least that is what I thought people were saying when they greeted me on January 1st 2009).
New Years Eve festivities were a bit different for me this year. I had been invited to a costume party not far from my house and I thought it would be a great time to show off my Santa Claus costume that my British friends had bought me as a Christmas present. When I showed up to the party the joke was on me. I was one of three people who came dressed up. What made it worse was that there were several young children at the party who were still believers. I say "were" believers because by the time their parents had shuttled them home they had given up on believing Santa was real (or at least they had given up on the idea that Santa was the bearer of gifts).

First off, let me tell you the background on the Russian Santa Claus. They call him "Ded Moroz" which means Father Frost. He usually shows up at New Years parties to pass out presents to all of the children. He is typically accompanied by a snow maiden named Snegurochka (his hot granddaughter). Why New Years? Remember that under communist rule, Christmas wasn't really celebrated as it was/is a religious holiday. To be honest, it's still not celebrated today in Russia. December 25th is just another day. Most, if not all, families choose instead to celebrate New Years by having a family dinner and giving gifts to one another.

So when I showed up to the party dressed as Santa you can imagine the reaction. The kids were excited at first but when they realized that I was just a fake they became pretty aggravated with me, their parents, and the whole lie that they had grown up believing. Leave it to me to ruin Christmas…or New Years.

Once the children left the party the older folks decided to have a contest to find me a Snegurochka (Snow Maiden). I won't go into details but let's just say that it involved me being blind folded and the contestants trying to win my approval by any means necessary. Another reason why some of the children at the party will never be able to look at Santa the same way…

Around 2am I decided to head back to the North Pole (aka my flat). Just like any other night I set out on foot walking down a major street towards my apartment. Except this night I was dressed as Ded Moroz. Which is the equivalent of being the king of mardi gras in New Orleans. People were driving down the street honking at me and hanging their heads out their windows chanting my name. Teenagers were stopping me on the street to take pictures with me. I think they were all a bit confused as I waved to everyone I met and wished them all a big heartfelt "Snowman's Scrotum!"

-Ded Moroz aka The Moscow Correspondent

No comments: