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In old Russia there are several Holiday Gift Bringers. Grandfather Frost is the Russian version of Father Christmas. There is also an elf maiden named Kolyada who rides around in a sleigh on Christmas Eve, rewarding Christmas carolers with presents. The most prominent gift bringer of them all is Babouschka. Babouschka is a grand- motherly figure who wanders through the towns and country- side on Christmas Eve carrying a candle and a basket of gifts. She stops at every home to fill children's stocking with presents and pieces of black bread.
The legend of Bebouschka is similar to that of the Italian gift bearer LeBefana. Babouschka was an old peasant woman who lived in a beautifully kept cottage in the woods. Babouschka was famous for her kindness to travellers and her delicious black bread. It was here that the three wise men stopped on their way to see the Christ child. After resting for a day, they asked Babouschka if she wanted to join them on their journey. She said yes, but told them to go ahead because she wanted to clean her house first. By the time she was finished they were too far ahead for her to catch up, so now she wanders on Christmas Eve in search of the Christ child, leaving gifts and some of her famous black bread for each of the Russian children.
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