According to a newly created legend, Ded Moroz was born on November 18th in Veliky Ustyug, a small town in the Vologda region. The date of the magician's birthday was chosen by weather chart makers as their long-term observations register that on that very day the ground of Veliky Ustyug is usually covered with a heavy snow blanket. No one knows his exact age. Although experts insist his career began more than 150 years ago, the first mentions of his appearance in noble Russian families on Christmas and New Year eve date back to the beginning of the 19th century.
On his birthday Ded Moroz lights up the first Christmas tree in Veliky Ustyug's main square with his magic staff, thus kicking off the festive season. The giant New Year’s tree from mid-November onwards becomes a festive focal point of Veliky Ustyug. It never fails to delight thousands of visitors, both young and old alike. Festive performances, fireworks, sport events and concerts are part of the program.
By the well-established tradition, many guests arrive in Veliky Ustyug to congratulate Ded Moroz. More than 20 fairy-tale characters from the Russian regions and from foreign countries.