Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, be plenteous in mercy is to have the real spirit of Christmas. Calvin Coolidge.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Legend of Baboushka

Legends abound of many gift-givers besides St. Nicholas in connection with Christmas. In old Russia, before the revolution of 1917, the most commonly known giver of gifts was an old woman known as Baboushka (which means grandmother in Russian).

Baboushka lived alone in a big house that required constant upkeep. She had lived so long alone that her days and her thoughts were filled only with cleaning, cooking, mending, spinning and looking after her empty property. She had no remaining family and rarely received visitors. Her large home near the road consumed her days.

As she busied herself one cold evening in scrubbing her floors, she heard the sound of trumpets coming from the road. She looked out the window and saw off in the distance three noblemen, finely dressed, moving down the road. She thought nothing of them until she heard the knock at her door.

"We are traveling to Bethlehem to find the Child who is born a King," said one of the wise men to her. "Won't you please come with us to find Him?"

The old woman explained that her floors were not yet clean and that she could not possibly leave her home. She invited them in from the cold but they explained that they could not be delayed. They bid her farewell and went on their way.

Late that night by the light of a fire, she pondered upon the men who had visited her and, more importantly, of the Child of whom they spoke. She regretted deeply, for some reason, not having gone with them now.

She gathered a few trinkets from among her meager possessions and set off into the cold night to find the noblemen. She walked and walked, inquiring after the traveling men and the Child who would be King but no one knew where to find them.

Legend has it that she continues to this day, traveling the lands in search of them. On Ephiphany Eve she leaves her trinkets in the homes of good children she visits in hopes that they too will search for the Child.


  1. Description
    Baboushka is described as a very old woman, with a scarf wrapped around her head. Dressed in a long dark cloak, Baboushka is pictured as a frail woman, carrying a basket of goodies in one arm.

    Like all Christmas tales, the legend of Baboushka will only make people realize the beginnings and the ideas behind countless festivities. This beautiful Christmas story is certainly a heart-touching story told and retold over decades. In modern times, on Christmas morning, when children in Russia find gifts in their beds, they are told that grandma Baboushka had left it for them while they were asleep.

  2. Baboushka is a popular fictional character and is a part of a traditional Christmas legend. The word 'Baboushka' refers to 'old woman' or 'grandmother' in the Russian language. The legend of Baboushka relates to the story of an old woman who travelled from village to village in search of the newborn King and the three wise men. On her way, she visited the homes of good children and left presents for them, while they slept in their beds. This fascinating story of Baboushka is one of the reasons that explain why children received gifts during Christmas. Every Christmas story sends a strong message to remind the people about the importance of conventional traditions. This story emphasizes on the significance of giving and sharing. There is no charm in celebrating Christmas without knowing the actual meaning behind the festivities.

  3. Christmas heralds a time of merry making and gift giving, of bonding with friends and family and of spending time in the warm glow of love. Of course, gifts are the most awaited and best loved part of Christmas. It is a tradition which, according to legends, has continued since the birth of Christ, when He was offered the first gifts that would later become an important aspect of the celebration of his birth. And like gifts, Christmas stories are also an integral part of the occasion. Every region has its own favorite Christmas story that elders and children alike love recounting during this time. The ritual of giving gifts during Christmas, especially to children, had its origin in a very poignant legend. This is the Legend of Baboushka and, it is widely believed that it originated in Russia. This story was very popular in Russia before the revolution of 1917.

    1. Yes! The custom of gift giving has always been associated with Christmas celebrations. And there are many legendary gift bearing figures who occupy a special position in the Yuletide celebrations, especially in the hearts of children. In fact, all regions have their own gift bearing characters whose legends pass from one generation to the other. From Basil of Caesarea and Santa Claus to Julmanden, all Christmas gift bearers hold special significance in different traditions, whose enchanting stories have been recounted since ages, during the Christmas. One such popular gift-bearer is Baboushka, meaning 'grandmother' in Russian. Prior to the Russian Revolution of 1917, this character was immensely popular in Russia. It is also believed that this popular figure actually started the age old custom of gift-giving during the Christmas. Scroll down and learn how a lonely, old Russian woman embarked on her journey to find baby Jesus after being visited by the Three Wise Men.