How Christmas trees were banned in Russia

In December 1699, Peter I issued a decree on the transition to a new chronology. Russia switched to the European calendar and the country began to celebrate the New Year on January 1. According to the tsarist decree, it was supposed to decorate houses with pine or spruce branches, have fun and congratulate each other on the New Year.

The festivities on Red Square lasted a whole week, from January 1 to January 7. The first January New Year in Russia was celebrated on a grand scale. So the foreign tradition came to the Russian land.

Gradually, the custom of decorating a Christmas tree for the holiday took root in the country. True, mainly among the representatives of the high society. For the poor, getting to the Christmas tree was a pipe dream. Unless some rich philanthropist will arrange a charity event. And many "old-world" landowners condemned such foreign fun.

But, be that as it may, and for more than 200 years, most wealthy Russians celebrated the New Year with a Christmas tree. And only at the beginning of the twentieth century, "German fun" was banned, and at the state level.

With the outbreak of the First World War, Russia remembered that Christmas tree traditions came to us from Germany. At the end of 1914, the country started talking about the need to ban New Year trees.

Here is a short note from the newspaper Moskovskaya Kopeyka of that time: "The Petrograd School Council forbade arranging Christmas trees in all church schools, since the custom of Christmas trees was transferred to us from the Germans."

At the beginning of 1915, newspapers reported that in the Saratov hospital, captured Germans celebrated the holiday with a traditional Christmas tree. The act was called outrageous and, under the influence of public opinion, the emperor banned such events. In 1916, the Synod also issued a decree banning trees, recognizing them as a "German idea."

At one time, they argued that the Bolsheviks banned the trees. But as we can see, everything happened before them. Moreover, already in the first post-revolutionary years, “proletarian Christmas trees” were held for children. And relations with Germany have become more friendly.

True, there was a period in the USSR when New Year trees were not welcomed. It was argued that the working class began a new chronology in October 1917. And in the late 20s - early 30s, they did without forest beauties.

On December 28, the second secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine P.P. Postyshev came up with an initiative to organize a New Year tree for children. The idea was approved by Stalin, and the trees in the USSR became an indispensable attribute of the holiday.