Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Russian Christmas Trees (It's not Rockefeller Center, but they're still cool!)

Here's the tree outside of the Lenin Library that's across from the Kremlin. That's Dostoevsky seated in front, perhaps admiring the gaudy tree...

I plan to post some more with photos of Moscow all decked out for New Year's. Christmas isn't a big deal here at all; it's all about New Year's. When the communists took over in 1917, they associated the trees with New Year's to pacify all the Russians who loved the Christmas holiday with trees, decorations, gift-giving, etc. It's quite nice that EVERYONE celebrates the same holiday; you needn't remember if people are Christian or not when wishing them simply, "Happy New Year!" Christmas in the Russian Orthodox calendar falls during the first week of January--and it is an important date to believers. My Orthodox friends appreciate how all the "hype" is now associated with New Year's--and Christmas is solely about Christ's birth.

In any case, here is a "tree" being constructed at Lyubyanka, in front of the famous KGB headquarters where so many people were last seen before disappearing during Stalin's rule. The place used to inspire utter terror. Now it's simply "the building next to Dyetsky Mir," the main children's store in Moscow (it's to the left, seen better in this picture).

Most decorations here involve fake tall trees with thousands of lights. It's quite spectacular at night! The trees come in every color... The girls particularly love the purple, pink and turquoise ones!


Rachael said...

We saw several pretty "Yule-ka" trees in St. Pete's on our first trip. Nothing turquoise or pink though!

Nataliya said...

Yup, the New Year's is the main holiday. Actually, it's still the biggest holiday for our family, though we celebrate everything - Christmas, New Year's, Orthodox Christmas, Old New Year on Jan. 13, etc :)

It's pretty cool to be able to take a picture of Lubyanka without terror :)

Tina in CT said...

What's "strange" is that right down from the infamous Lubyanka is a luxury car dealership. Times sure have changed.