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Spruce as a symbol of Christmas & New Year

  • Wed 12 2018
  • by intermark

Almost every family in Russia sets up a Christmas tree at home. It is an important beautiful custom that creates a warm festive atmosphere. But how did it all start in Russia?

In fact, the spruce as a symbol of Christmas and New Year entered the Russian culture not so long ago. It was Peter I, who, by the decree of December 30, 1699, ordered to decorate the main streets of Moscow, as well as the houses of the nobility with coniferous trees and branches. The Tsar adopted this custom from Europeans who lived in The German Quarter.

The first spruce for the public was installed on Christmas day only in 1852 in St. Petersburg in the building of the Catherine (now – Moscovsky) railway station. Later Christmas trees began to appear in other public places, in Moscow – in the building of the Noble Assembly in Okhotny Ryad (now – the house of Unions).

However, half a century later, the tradition interrupted during the First World War. In 1915, German prisoners of war in the Saratov hospital organized a Christmas holiday, which caused an extremely negative reaction in the Russian press. Emperor Nicholas II declared the Christmas tradition to be the custom of enemies, and, banned Christmas trees. After the October revolution, the new governmenrt of workers and peasants abolished the ban, but in 1926 they again eliminated the “Christmas” tradition together with a spruce, considering it bourgeois.

Only in 1938, the spruce returned. A huge 15-meter Christmas tree with ten thousand decorations and toys appeared in Moscow, in the hall of columns. It began to be established annually. Since 1976, the main Christmas tree of the country has become a tree installed in the state Kremlin Palace.

By the 1960s, the Christmas tree has become a familiar and beloved for every family. And its decoration with glass balls, toys and paper garlands is one of the main family ceremonies.


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