New Year tree
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New Year trees are decorations similar to but distinct from Christmas trees that are common in various cultures and nations, chiefly the former Soviet Union, Turkey, and Vietnam. They should not be confused with the practice of not removing a Christmas tree until after New Years, as such trees are still considered to be Christmas trees, whereas New Year trees are displayed specifically to celebrate the New Year.
Russian and Turkish traditions
A New Year tree is the Russian and Turkish equivalent of Christmas trees. A spruce tree is most usual type of tree used and the variety of tree sorts and decorations used is the same as for Christmas trees. The economic advantages of Russian and Turkish North Americans following such a practice are notable due to prices of Christmas trees plummeting after Christmas, although most of them will not wait until after Christmas to buy their trees, therefore making this advantage nonexistent.
History of the Russian New Year tree
The tradition to install and decorate a Ёлка (pr: Yolka, tr: spruce tree) dates back to the 17th century when Peter the Great imported the tradition from his travels of Europe. However, in the Imperial Russia Yolka were banned since 1916 by Synod as a tradition originated in Germany (Russia's enemy during World War I). This ban was prolonged in the Russian SFSR and the Soviet Union until 1935 (New Year tree was banned as a "bourgeois and religious prejudice" until that year). The New Year celebration was not banned, though there was no official holiday for it until 1935. The New Year's tree revived in the USSR after the famous letter by Pavel Postyshev, published in Pravda on December 28, 1935, where he asked for trees to be installed in schools, children's homes, Young Pioneer Palaces, children's clubs, children's theaters and cinemas. In 1937, a Novy God (New Year) Tree was also installed in the Moscow Palace of Unions. An invitation to the Yolka at the Palace of Unions became a matter of honour for Soviet children.
Pavel Postyshev letter (translated):
“In the pre-revolutionary era the bourgeoisie and the capitalist officials always put up a tree for their children on New Year. Children of the working classes looked on with envy through the windows at the gleaming tree adorned with colored lights and the children of the rich playing around it. Why do our schools, orphanages, nurseries, children’s clubs, and Young Pioneer Palaces, deprive children of the working class of the Soviet State of this wonderful enjoyment? Because some “left-leaning” exaggerators decried this pastime as a bourgeois children's indulgence. It is time to put an end to this wrongful condemnation of the tree, which is a joyful diversion for the children. The Young Pioneer scout leaders are called upon to organize holiday celebrations for the children that feature New Year trees. In schools, orphanages, clubs, cinemas, and theaters – children’s New Year trees should be everywhere! There should not be a single village or community farm where the local board, along with members of the Komsomol, does not provide a New Year tree for their kids. City councils, chairmen of district executive committees, village councils, and education authorities must all work to bring the New Year tree to children of our great socialist motherland. Our children will be grateful to us for giving them back the New Year tree. I'm sure the Komsomolians will take a very active part in this enterprise and do away with the silly misconception that the New Year tree is a bourgeois excess. So, let's organize a New Year celebration for kids and arrange a good Soviet New Year tree in all our cities and rural villages!” 
History of the Turkish New Year tree
A Turkish new year tree, in Turkish Yılbaşı Ağacı, is the same as Christmas trees with Christmas knick-knacks on it. It is called a New Year tree because it is specific to the New Year, and with ~95% of the population Muslim; most of the Turks do not celebrate Christmas. The New Year tree can be considered an example of westernised Turkish culture or Turkified European culture.
After modernisation of Turkey, the Islamic calendar and fiscal calendar were replaced by the Gregorian calendar, and New Year celebrations started in late 1920s. The celebrations became popular in Turkey and Christmas trees were brought into Turkey as New Year trees. Since then, the habit of setting a New Year tree for the New Year is a traditional event in Turkey. It is usually set up between beginning of December and end of January, the mid date being New Year's Eve. Also, the habit of giving presents at Christmas has been changed to New Year presents.
Planting an old Year tree or cây nêu is also a Vietnamese custom which is part of the springtime Tết festival. Often a bamboo pole serves as the "tree".
- (Russian) Fir Markets
- (Russian) Legend of a man, who presented Soviet children with New Year's tree
- translation by Y. Ustinov
Media related to New Year trees at Wikimedia Commons