Dear Russian Jews
Having seen this for the millionth time in 3 countries I can’t take it anymore…
Please understand. Its NOT a “New Year’s” Tree or a yule tree, or a novigod tree or a fir tree, or a chestnut tree, its called a Christmas tree!!
It is not a Russian tradition (even though you have everyone convinced)… it’s a Christian tradition. It’s as Russian as breathing is Russian. Christians all over the world, celebrate the Christmas season with a Christmas tree. Britts, Americans, Germans, Mexicans, etc usually are not ignorant enough to call it their national tradition (well, maybe some Americans would be), they realize its a Christian tradition. A Christmas tree is as Russian as Jesus is Russian (even if you call it a New Year’s tree).
New Years and Christmas are inextricably related as part of Jesus’s bday season (Announcement, birth, circumcision, etc). The modern Gregorian Calendar of course, divides all time as BC and AD (before birth and after death, and sets Christmas as Dec 25, and New years as Jan 1, while the Julian or old Christian calendar (still followed by some Greek Orthodox churches) sets them Jan 7 and Jan 14 respectively (simply apparently further reasons for Russian Jews to celebrate around a Christmas tree).
This difference is because the original Christian calendar, the Julian, was a bit off (had no leap years and was getting more off each century (hence the 14 days). The Gregorian Calendar fixed this problem by having a leap year every 4 years.
Obviously for a Jew, the New year is neither Dec 25, Jan 1, Jan 7 nor Jan 14, but Rosh Hashana, and it is not celebrated with a Christmas tree of any kind.
Christmas trees originally sprung up in Germany and some of the Baltic areas. Slowly, other protestant areas took them up (Catholic areas much more slowly). This is because it was a counter to the Catholic Christmas “Cribs” (little mock Jesus cribs and little Jesus babies). Originally, there was a Christmas tree and a Christmas pyramid which held Christmas figure, candles and a star. Overtime they merged together.
Ironically, the Christmas tree was even introduced to Canada, the USA and other places in the New World from Western Europe long before it ever was to Russia. Not only is it not a Russian tradition, but Russia is a relative latecomer to the Christmas tree tradition as it began as a Protestant custom and not a Greek Orthodox one.
So why the confusion?
Well, with the lovely arrival of the evil commis, Christmas along with everything religious was banned in the USSR. However, people’s traditions sometimes die hard, and though the Russian authorities were pretty successful wiping away any sense of Jewishness from Jews in Russia, they were not as successful with Russian Christians, who wanted to hang on to their Christmas. The commi authorities had no choice but to compromise and in 1935 allow Christmas trees as long as you call them New Year trees. The famous Jesus symbol crowning a Christmas tree, the Bethlehem Star, could then be known as the “Red Star” (a commi symbol).
The evil commis have finally gone to hell, and the formerly oppressed Soviet peoples are quickly rediscovering their heritage that was taken from them… all except the Jews of course who remain as clueless now as they did under oppression, and make sure to celebrate Dec 25, Jan 1, Jan 7 and Jan 14 to make sure they do not miss Jesus’s true bday due to the controversy. As far as the star, I’m not sure if they mean to worship Jesus through it (the Bethlehem Star) or their former Communist slave masters (The Red Star).
As a final note to you, (by the way much of this applies to American Jews who also think the Christmas tree is an “American” tradition)…
if you want to cling on this absurd difference of a name, from “Christmas tree” to “New Years tree” (though it is known to be nothing but a euphemism to satisfy anti-Christian commi authorities), and a difference in dates, and say that this New year tree is a Russian tradition, the question I ask to the Russian Jew (especially in America), is that will people that did not care to guard their heritage then, and do not care to guard it now, but who simply go with the flow of society surrounding them, actually suddenly fanatically guard this “new years tree” a few days off from the “Christmas tree” surrounding them in the US and keep them separate? If so, for how long? How many generations? The answer is of course “no”, and for about .2 generations until your kids stop even calling their Christmas tree in their house a “New Years” tree when everyone else around them calls it a Christmas tree (which it obviously is).
Dear Russian Christians,
Merry Christmas!! Happy new Year!!! And by all means enjoy your Christmas trees, a beautiful Christian tradition! Glad to know you may now use them freely without the yoke of oppression.
Please do not reply back to me anything like “but it’s not a religious holiday” be it New Years or Christmas. Things are what they are. You can personally celebrate any holiday you want without any religious significance to you (though then it’s hard to understand why you religiously have to do it a certain way a certain date), but it doesn’t make the holiday any less a religious event. The world holiday itself, is of course a HOLY day. You can also walk around in swastikas and say that for you they don’t have any NAZI meaning and you just like the shape of them. At the end of the day, things are what they are, and though there are many Christians who celebrate their Christian holidays with more of a tradition in mind than religious worship, there are plenty of good Christians who do both. Either way, Christian tradition or Christian worship, we Jews have plenty of traditional and holidays of our own that you can also do WITHOUT any religious significance before you run off and do other peoples.
Also do not reply back with “The Christmas tree really has Pagan origins and not Christian”. I am an educated man, (but I am afraid I cannot speak intelligently on the travel habits of Private Santiago, haha) but not an expert in neither Christianity nor Pagan religions, and that debate is a mute point here… be it pagan, Buddhist or Christian, neither one falls under Judaism I believe.
Any other more interesting, intelligent, valid, sound or even mildly amusing reply I am happy to hear of course…
(of and I probably should say also, I would prefer not to get “You don’t have any friends” either…)
[…] For a much less professional take on that I wrote a few years ago, look here. […]