Russia - Ded Moroz & The Snow Maiden
Also known as Grandfather Frost, Ded Moroz is very similar to Santa Claus, however, there are a few noticeable differences. Ded Moroz travels with his granddaughter Snegurochka, The Snow Maiden. Together they plan New Year's Eve parties for kids and will show up at each party hand delivering gifts to the children. Instead of using reindeer, Dez Moroz travels by troika, which is a horse drawn sled. Legend has it that Ded Moroz was once a wicked sorcerer, but over time he turned good and decided to give out gifts to children to make up for all of his evil deeds.
Italy - La Befana
In Italy, many Italians believe in la befana, a "good witch" who was following the wise men when they visited baby Jesus. She is a friendly old woman with magical powers who delivers toys to good kids and coal or ashes to naughty kids. Instead of leaving her cookies and milk, she prefers sausage and red wine. She is very courteous and will sweep up any mess she might make around the fireplace with the broom she travels on. She usually visits kids on January 6, which is the end of the Christmas season in Italy, also known as the Day of Epiphany.
Iceland - The Yule Lads
The Yule Lads or Yulemen are thirteen dwarves, similar to elves, who give out gifts to children. They all have individual personalities and each play their own mischievous tricks. Ketkrokur uses a long hook to steal meat and Gluggagaegir (don't worry we're not sure how to pronounce this one either!) will spy into kids' bedroom looking for things to take while they're sleeping. Each Yule Lad will leave gifts in kids' shoes for the 13 nights leading up to Christmas. Good children will receive sweets and small gifts, while naughty children will receive rotten potatoes.
Netherlands - Sinterklaas
The American Santa Claus was based on the Dutch's Sinterklaas. Sinterklaas dons a red costume, flowing white beard and has a jolly demeanor. However, unlike Santa, Sinterklaas comes to the Netherlands every year in late November. He is said to arrive by steamboat from Spain, and after landing, he is paraded through the city so all the Dutch children can greet him.
Merry Christmas From Surdyke Yamaha!
No matter what traditions you like to do around the holidays, we hope you get to enjoy spending time with your friends and family. If you are needing a few last minute gifts, swing by the best boat dealer at the Lake of the Ozarks! From boats and PWC to bikes and ATVs at the Lake of the Ozarks, we have toys to fit the whole family. Merry Christmas from all of us at Surdyke Yamaha!
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