Tragedy struck at a New Year party in a kindergarten school in Russia after a 67-year-old man acting as Santa Claus in the party suddenly collapsed and died in front of the children.
The Russian version of Santa Claus is called Father Frost, and during Christmas, what is celebrated in Russia as winter holiday is New Year.
The New Year party at the kindergarten ended in a traumatic experience for the kids as actor impersonating Father Frost, the Russian counterpart of Santa Claus, experienced heart problems during performance after which he died, report’s rt.com.
The moods were festive at a daycare center in the Siberian city of Kemerovo. The children, all dressed up in costumes of bunnies and snowflakes, sang songs and danced around the brightly decorated New Year’s tree.
The 4-year-olds were a bit nervous to recite the poems they’ve learnt before Father Frost himself. But suddenly the guest of honor, wearing a white beard, a massive hat and a warm red-colored coat, felt sick.
The actor, impersonating Father Frost, “complained about pain in the chest” and collapsed, a witness of the tragedy said.
An ambulance was called, but the 67-year-old died in an emergency vehicle on his way to hospital.
The late Valery Titonenko worked as an actor at Kemerovo’s Music Theatre. He’s been a regular Father Frost at the kindergarten in recent years due to his grandson being in one of the wards.
In Soviet times, the New Year replaced Christmas as the main winter holiday and the tradition remains strong in modern Russia. As for Christmas, Orthodox Christians celebrate the birth of Christ on January 7 due to the difference between the Julian and the Gregorian calendars.
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