Some of Romanian Christmas traditions have been forgotten while some have taken shape over the years. As such, the Romanians also had their own Christmas gift-bearing figure. Here, Father Christmas was referred to as 'Mos Craciun' before the communist regime. After the communist party took over Romania in 1948, Christmas carols, celebrations and parties were declared illegal. Christmas was banned and communism was the new religion during this regime. The Romanians were no longer allowed to refer to Father Christmas as Santa Claus, who was replaced by Mos Gerila, a new name adopted for Father Christmas, instead of Mos Craciun. During the communist era, the children were told that, it was Mos Gerila who secretly gifted them every year, on the night of 30th December. The Romanian people were estranged from old customs and gradually started to accept this new character. It was only after the Romanian Revolution in 1989 that, the character of Mos Gerila dissolved and the name Mos Craciun was restored as Father Christmas, once more.
The Frost Man
Mos Gerila is a name originated from Romania, which literally means 'Grandfather Frost'. This name was derived from Mos Craciun, which means Father Christmas and is a translation of Ded Moroz. 'Mos' refers to old age and 'Ger' means frost and therefore, Mos Gerila was also referred to as 'Father Frost' in Romania. When the communists came to power, they introduced Mos Gerila, to replace Santa Claus. In Romanian folklore, it is said that, Jesus was born in the stable of Mos Gerila and it was Mos Gerila, who went into the village and distributed gifts to the people on the night Jesus was born. Mos Gerila is believed to have been a great man with a kind heart. The children and the adults were given gifts personally or otherwise the gifts were placed under the tree, to be found the next morning. As Romania was the poorest country of Europe, the gifts usually comprised of sweets and nuts.
In the 1947 issue of the newspaper Natiunea, Mos Gerila was portrayed as a strong, common, young, bare-chested man, quite contrary to the traditional look of Santa Claus, with white beard and a huge belly. Some Romanians also believe that Mos Gerila has the appearance of an old communist activist.