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O New Year Tree! Kremlin’s festive icon selected in Moscow Region

Russia's main festive tree for the New Year and Christmas holidays, which will adorn Cathedral Square in Moscow's Kremlin, has been cut down in the Moscow region with great festive ceremony.

The fir tree is more than a century old and is 28 meters high. This very tree was chosen for a special mission – to decorate Moscow’s main square at the Kremlin. A special committee was set up back in September to choose the perfect one for the occasion from among hundreds of trees from Moscow forests.

The festive ceremony was held with traditional Russian entertainment shows, including Father Frost – the Russian version of Santa Claus.

Vladimir Kremlev for RT
Vladimir Kremlev, RT. Click to enlarge
The tree will then travel to Moscow to take its place on the square on December 20 and will undergo decoration. Some 2000 decorative items of all sorts – ribbons, Christmas balls and bells – will adorn the tree. A kilometer-long sash, painted with the colors of the Russian flag, will festoon the giant festive tree.

The longtime tradition of having a New Year tree dates back to the 18th Century. Russian Emperor Peter the Great was touring Europe as a young man, and there he picked up the tradition of having a Christmas tree. He adopted it in his country, which was then a religious Orthodox one, and in which Christmas was the main holiday.

In early 20th Century, the tradition was outlawed. When the Soviet Union was established, religion was abolished, and so was the tradition of having a tree.

It was not until the 1930s when trees made their way back to Russian households, but now mainly for New Year, which comes before Christmas in Russia.