Who is a Belarusian Santa? Or perhaps it’s better to say Santas, because Belarusians are so lucky they have two of them. Meet Father Frost (aka Ded Moroz), the traditional figure of New Year, and Belarusian Zuzya.
Are they competitors? No, rather relatives.
Who is Father Frost?
Unlike Santa Belarusian Father Frost doesn’t wear glasses and is fitter. You can always tell him by a long red fur coat, a magic staff in his hands, and a big bag full of gifts behind his back.
Father Frost is usually accompanied by his pretty granddaughter Snow Maiden or Snegurochka. According to one of legends, the cute girl was born of snow. She helps the grandad to communicate with kids and give them presents.
To get a gift from the old man is not an easy task. The kids tell him poems, sing songs and dance around the Christmas tree to the delight of their parents.
Parents prepare children for the meeting with the New Year wizard long before the holiday. They explain that Father Frost has been watching children’s behavior all year round and will give presents to the most obedient and diligent ones.
Where does he live?
Father Frost together with Snegurochka and other winter characters live in a forest but not an ordinary one. The residence in Belovezhskaya Pushcha was created in 2003 and its location is not accidental.
Included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Biosphere Reserve is considered to be the oldest and the largest primeval forest in Europe.
The highest spruce tree in the world, which was 150 years old, grew here until 2014. Fabulous atmosphere, beautiful nature and cozy wooden huts beckons guests from around the world to immerse in the magic of the fairy tales.
What to do in the residence?
The impressive 15 hectares of winter wonderland will keep you engaged and entertained the whole day. You will be invited to the Father Frost’s Hut with a throne room, see Snegurochka’s Terem and treated wth Belarusian dishes.
Watch what’s happening at the residence of Belarusian Father Frost online till 14 January:
There’s also a Treasury or Skarbnitsa – the place where Father Fros stores his treasures – gifts, drawings and letters from children. The Magic Mill will help you to ground all your bad deeds to dust, and start the new year afresh.
Unique souvenirs from the Museum of Ice and Mother Winter Workshop will help you to freeze the best moments of your trip. The residence is open for the visitors all year round from 9 am till 6 pm.
Ticket price for adults is 10 BYN (~$5), for children (1-14 y.o.) 9 BYN (~$4,5). Get to the residence by car (GPS 52.556889, 23.797583) or by public transport from Brest to the village of Kamianiuki.
Who is Zyuzya?
The wizard, who comes from the Belarusian mythology, is Father Frost’s great grandfather. He is the personification of the god of winter and freezing cold.
The old man has snow-white hair, a long beard and betroot-red nose. He isn’t tall, a little bit plump. Zyuzya walks barefoot, bareheaded and always carries an iron mace. He isn’t married and has no children or grandchildren.
This unusual character used to have his own residence in Postavy Region, Vitebsk Oblast. A few years ago Zyuzya decided to change his permanent residence and now he is looking for a new dwelling.
Want to meet this fascinating character in person? Get in touch with Tourist Services Center +375 (29) 732-27-77 to arrange you a meeting.
Where else to meet Father Frost?
There are a number of other New Year residences in Belarus as well. Most of them work only in winter. The most ‘military’ Father Frost lives in the Stalin Line Complex. He receives guest from 22 December till 7 January.
Another temporary residence is located in Stankovo ecotourism center, which is also home for wild animals and birds.
The most unusual winter couple Zimnik and Zavirukha will welcome children from 15 December till 15 January in their residence in Zaleiky village, Grodno Oblast.
All the residences offer their guests winter games, hot tea, sweets, pancakes and wonderful memories!
Text by Anait Arzumanyan