Father Frost

The Kyrgyz call him Ayaz Ata; legend says he was born of moonlight and cold weather. He appears around New Year’s Day, gives children presents and sports a white beard, a floor-length coat, a hat that stories say is fashioned from snowflakes, and a magical walking stick. He is often accompanied by his granddaughter, Kar Kiz, the Snow Maiden, who acts as his helper. The woman I saw in the square acting as Kar Kiz is far more fetching than any rendition of Mrs. Claus I’ve ever seen.