Ukraine's Santa Claus

The Ukrainian Santa Claus Tradition

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Ukraine's Santa Claus goes by the name of Svyatyy Mykolay (Saint Nicholas – also spelled Sviatyij Mykolai) or Did Moroz (Father Frost).

Svyatyy Mykolay – St. Nicholas

Though Svyatyy Mykolay visits children with presents on December 6th according to the Roman Catholic calendar, in Orthodox nations, the Day of St. Nicholas is observed on December 19th. In Ukraine, Svyatyy Mykolay is more likely to make an appearance on this later date because of the majority of Ukraine's population associating with the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The Ukrainian St. Nick is usually dressed in his bishop's robe and hat. Accompanied by angels, or sometimes an angel and a devil, he dispenses gifts to children on his day. He may also leave a willow branch under children's pillows to warn them to be on their best behavior. The tradition of Sviatyij Mykolai is also associated with the beginning of the cold weather.

In Ukraine, St. Nicholas Day is a celebration of one of the country's most important saints. It is a time for charity, and the Ukrainian president issues a statement wishing Ukrainians and Ukrainian children a happy St. Nicholas Day with an admonition to remember the less fortunate on this day.

Did Moroz

Like Russia's Ded Moroz, or Grandfather Frost, Did Moroz is a Christmas figure who brings gifts to children. Because traditions differ from region to region and family to family, it may be either Svyatyy Mykolay or Did Moroz who visits children for the Ukrainian Christmas holidays, and he may visit on Saint Nicholas Day, Christmas Eve, or both.