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Prohibition of Christmas trees in Russia after the revolution
This article repeats some wide-spread, but erroneous rumors about prohibition of the tree in Soviet Russia from the revolution to 1935.
Although such rumors happen to be told even in some low-quality scientific publications, they are obviously not true, but some sort of jumping to conclusions based on misinterpretation.
Maybe Christmas parties were prohibited as Christmas ones. But if we mean this, Christmas parties were not reintroduced in 1935.
If we mean winter-holiday parties and spruce-trees (without sorting Christmas from New Year), the tradition of children parties with trees was not prohibited, it was even supported by communists.
As an example. After the revolution preschools (kindergartens) emerged in Russia, they were state-run. The main contributor to musical upbringing in the kindergartens of Leningrad was N. N. Dolomanova. She was the head of the musical department of an institute (university), her books and papers were published by state publishing companies, she was more or less the official voice of the communist state in preschool education.
Among the books published by Dolomanova are:
- Н.Н. Доломанова. За ёлочкой. Пьеса для маленьких детей, с приложением песен Лядова. Пг., Начатки знаний, Труды Музея «Дошкольная жизнь ребёнка», 1923 (Going for the [New Year] spruce tree. Short play for little children, 1923)
- Н.Н. Доломанова. Дед-Мороз развеселил. Сценка для маленьких детей, с руководящей ролью для одного взрослого, с приложением песен Кюи, Лядова и др. Пг., Начатки знаний; Труды Музея «Дошкольная жизнь ребёнка», Детская театральная библиотека, N2 (серия); 1923 (Ded Moroz amused us. Short play for little children, 1923)
and, the most persuasive,
- Н.Н. Доломанова, Снегурочка к детям на елку пришла. Сценка у елки для маленьких детей с прилож. музыки Римского-Корсакова, Лядова и Кюи. «Начатки знаний», 1923 (Snegurochka came for a children's New Year party, 1923)
Similar New Year parties with spruce trees were in Moscow schools, according to the journal Вестник просвещения (Jan 1923).
But from the 1924 there was a campaign against the religious Christmas holiday (although the school and kindergarten parties had become New Year parties by that time). The parties were not prohibited but discouraged. The same journal Вестник просвещения writes in Jan 1924 that schools tried to ban New Year parties but parents struggled for them. New Year was widely celebrated at least until 1930, by 1930 schools started promoting the idea that trees were good for human health and beauty of the nature.
So we can see that new-year-tree parties were not prohibited soon after revolution. They were widely organized and supported by the state until about 1923, from 1924 they were banned at schools, but they were never prohibited as private celebrations. Later than 1924, but not later than 1930, schools started propaganda against holiday trees, though they were never banned.