Father Frost (Russian Father Christmas) will start his New Year Tour of Russia on December 21st.
On Sunday, the Russian Presidential Information Department reported to RIA Novosti that a special column of festively decorated cars would be carrying the Host of Winter, while gifts for Russian children will be transported in a trailer.
Father Frost's fellow townsfolk, children and teenagers from the old Russian town of Veliky Ustyug, will be the first to receive his New Year congratulations and gifts. Then Father Frost and his delegation will visit six Russian towns, including Kostroma, Yaroslavl and Vologda. Fairy shows and magic miracles will be staged whenever the festive column makes a stop, however all New Year surprises are kept in secret.
The organisers say, answering children's letters sent to Father Frost's residence will be an important part of Father Frost's tour. According to the organisers, "the majority of Russian children prefer not to ask for gifts, but make inquiries about Father Frost's health and life in spring, summer and autumn. They also tell him about their achievements of the year." Annually, some 70,000 letters are sent to Father Frost's homeland, they added.
On December 26th, Father Frost will arrive in Moscow to open the programme of New Year festivities. The Host of Winter will be celebrating the New Year in St. Petersburg. In addition, he and his foreign counterpart Santa Claus will speak in a live Magic Conference on TV.
The organisers of Father Frost's New Year Tour say that an increasing number of Russians as well as foreign guests wish to celebrate the New Year in Father Frost's native town of Veliky Ustyug. 20,000 people are going to celebrate the holiday and spend winter holidays there in 2002.
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