MOSCOW, November 18, Anastasia Silkina. Today is Father Frost’s birthday and he accepts congratulations in his homeland, Veliky Ustyug, Vologda Region. And then he will continue his New Year’s journey around the country. Where else he will look and what he will show is in the material.
Grand Tour: Santa Claus' Festive Route
Father Frost has been on the road for a week now, in the company of his granddaughter Snegurochka and his fabulous team. His train departed from Veliky Ustyug and visited Labytnangi, Vorkuta, Usinsk, Pechora, Sosnogorsk, Ukhta and Syktyvkar. After the birthday, the train will move east, travel along the Baikal-Amur Mainline, reach Tynda in the Amur Region and return to the European part of the country.
The route will pass through Perm, Yekaterinburg, Tyumen, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Chita, Irkutsk, Chelyabinsk, Ufa, Samara, Volgograd, Astrakhan, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Petrozavodsk, Pskov, St. Petersburg, Kostroma and many other cities.
The entire journey will last 64 days. The train will cover 32 thousand kilometers and make more than 80 stops with a festive theatrical program. At large stations you can visit the train itself – with tickets.
“From December 31 to January 1, I will be in every home, in every city, in every town, in every village, and all children and adults will receive worthy gifts on New Year’s Day,” the country’s chief wizard traditionally promises.
“Santa Claus Train” is a joint project of Russian Railways and the government of the Vologda region. The structure includes a reception area and bedrooms for the team. In the “Fairytale Village” carriage, the wizard's assistants Shurshik, Auntie Aushka and Grandfather Treskun conduct games and quests for the children, then guests are invited to have tea in the dining car. There are northern souvenirs in the bench car.
This year, a puppet theater appeared on the train, where they show the musical performance “The Magic Book”. Its characters meet the mischievous Baba Yaga, try to make friends with the characters from the fairy tale “12 Months” and sing along with the Snow Queen.
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This is already the third big railway journey of Father Frost. The first, in 2021, lasted 41 days. Last year, in 85 days, the train covered more than 33 thousand kilometers and entered the Russian Book of Records.
Better at home: who congratulates Santa Claus
How old he is is unknown. He himself says that he, too, was a child and went to a forest school.
"I am as old as the world exists. I don’t remember all the years. I remember your dads, moms, grandparents, when they were little, looking under the Christmas tree, dreaming about gifts. And if I remember them, it means that everyone is much older,” explains Santa Claus.
This character has been known in literature since the 19th century, after the publication of “Tales of Grandfather Irenaeus” by Vladimir Odoevsky. Moroz Ivanovich appeared there.
And the children chose the date of his birthday – it is in mid-November that climate winter begins in Veliky Ustyug, Vologda Region, the temperature becomes sub-zero. First celebrated in 2005.
Father Frost also accepts congratulations from his colleagues. The Karelian Pakkaine, Tol Babai from Udmurtia, Kysh Babai from Tatarstan and other “relatives” come to his estate. The festive festivities end with the lighting of the first New Year's tree of the year. This always attracts many tourists.
And the popularity of the winter wizard’s residence is growing: in 2022, 496 thousand people visited it – 35 percent more than in 2021. Excursions and meetings with fairy-tale characters are organized for guests. In the theme park – Santa Claus Post Office, Santa Claus Fashion House, Zoo.
Government of the Vologda Region plans to turn the estate into the largest world-class tourism cluster. The territory will be expanded by 87 hectares, a hotel complex, sports and entertainment facilities will be built.
The birthday of Father Frost will be celebrated not only in Veliky Ustyug. Almost 60 parks in the Moscow region offer animation programs, photo zones, competitions, master classes and much more.