ERR News – In what has become an annual tradition, an Estonian Jõuluvana (Santa Claus) from Narva and a Russian Ded Moroz (Father Frost) from Ivangorod met on the morning of December 30, on the Friendship Bridge that connects their cities.
The two then visited a kindergarten in Ivangorod, where they distributed candy and wished the children a happy New Year’s Day – celebrated in Russia as the main festive holiday of winter, much like Christmas is in the West. Accompanied by top officials from the respective cities, the jolly pair then crossed back over the border to perform similar duties at a kindergarten in Narva, a Russian-language local newspaper Viru Prospekt reported.
Border crossing by foot typically involves waiting in an hour-long queue, but procedures were expedited for the red-and-white duo and their entourage.
After the Santa summit, the two administrations exchanged crib mobiles, gifts for the firstborn babies of 2014 in each city.
Many local administrations on the Estonian-Russian border have developed healthy working relationships and close ties, despite the often frosty rhetoric between Toompea and the Kremlin.