the sender writes:
It's Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost) - Russian Santa, with his granddaughter Snegurochka, riding the troika (trio) of horses to bring presents.
What a beautiful Christmas postcard!! All the little white dots are specks of glitter. The sled is a carved swan and the 'frame' makes it look like a real piece of artwork. Great postcard for sure!
postmarked in 2010 with three Russia stamps
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In some Slavic cultures, the traditional character Ded Moroz plays a role similar to that of Santa Claus. The literal translation of the name would be Grandpa Frost, although the name is often translated as Father Frost. Ded Moroz brings presents to children. However, unlike the secretive ways of Santa Claus, he often brings them in person, at the celebrations of the New Year and at New Year parties for children by the New Year Tree.
Ded Moroz is commonly accompanied by Snegurochka, or 'Snow Maiden,' his granddaughter. She is a unique attribute of the image of Father Frost – no other santa figures have a similar companion.
The traditional appearance of Ded Moroz has a resemblance to that of Santa Claus, with his coat, boots and long white beard. Specifically, Ded Moroz wears a heel-long fur coat and a semi-round fur hat. Unlike Santa Claus, he walks with a long magical staff, does not say "Ho, ho, ho," and drives no reindeer but a troika (like it the postcard above) or just walks.
A troika is a traditional Russian harness driving combination, using three horses abreast, usually pulling a sleigh.