APPLE CHEEKED PIONEERS AND OTHER CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS

Christmas and New Year's ornaments of the Soviet times
Display at the One Street Museum
APPLE CHEEKED PIONEERS AND OTHER CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS

Kyiv, Ukraine

(click the image to enlarge it)

The opening night of the new exhibition at the One Street Museum greeted the guests with
darkness, except  candles that gave some light to  the  Christmas tree, Christmas  wreaths,
Santas (Grandpa Frost) and other Christmas decorations.
 
First I thought it was a trick from Vlada, one of the Museum employees, who likes to create
"special atmosphere". But when I saw Vlada's surprised  eyes  and  concern  of the  people
from a TV channel (two hours later they  were supposed to broadcast the news on TV  and
wondered  how to shoot in the darkness) I  understood  the  atmosphere  was not  created.
That was a problem with electricity.

At last everything was settled. The electric bulbs lit up, Christmas melodies played. A special
exhibition of Christmas ornaments opened.

An exciting holiday atmosphere felt everywhere. There were wreaths hanging on the walls
decorated with ornaments, Christmas tree in the corner guarded by Grandpas Frosts (Santas) of many different sizes, handmade decorations in the shape of rabbits, foxes, wolves and swans in the show cases. Once these items decorated green Christmas (New Year) trees in the houses of Kyiv residents bringing joy to children and adults.

Under Communists people in the Soviet Ukraine were not allowed to use the name Christmas tree, instead a decorated fir tree had to be called a New Year tree.
 

APPLE CHEEKED PIONEERS AND OTHER CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS
APPLE CHEEKED PIONEERS AND OTHER CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS
   The oldest Christmas (New Year) ornaments on  display were  from  the period 1910-1930. They were
    handmade nuts and houses covered with foil, like snow, mushrooms colored with beetroot juice, swans
    with  shiny wings, red apples, yellow pears, girls  in  fancy  fur coats, etc...
All of them were made of
    cotton wool soaked with sticky potato flour to keep shape.


    Before  New Year the family used to get  together  in  the evenings and make ornaments. Also, they 
    decorated Christmas tree with real apples, sweets,  tangerines, chocolates.
(Seldom did they last until
    the end of the holidays!)

    Among the items there was a pair of pink ballroom shoes. Some noble lady was waltzing in them at the
    ball. Maybe, in the fairytale Cinderella lost similar ones.

    Strings of beaded necklaces circled the Christmas (New  Year) tree. They were made of thick paper!
    Flat  and  three  dimension imprinted rabbits, bears, dogs,  birds,  clocks, musical  instruments were
    designed  in  Germany  in the so called Dresden  style.  A bird made in this style is a very rare piece.
    The body of the bird was made separately and the wings were attached to the body.

    By the way, it was in Germany where they started industrial production of Christmas ornaments. Glass
    balls  were  blown  by the craftsmen from the  town  of Lausha in 1848. Later, in 1920 craftsmen from
    Czechoslovakia joined them and started making geometrical design, fancy spiders, etc.

    In  the  Soviet  times  the tradition of celebrating  New Year (not to mention Christmas which was
    forbidden!) was at first considered to be pretty bourgeois. Decorating fir trees was only allowed in 1937
    after  Pavel Postyshev, one of the state and  party leaders, published an article "Let Us Organize a Nice
    New Y ear Tree  for  Children" in the  newspaper "Pravda". The first official state New Year tree was put
    up in the Kremlin Palace. At the same time Grandpa Frost and Snowmaid appeared.

    Soviet  glass ornaments appeared after World War II. Red stars, pioneers (children's communist
    organization),  horns, sickle & hammer,  apple cheeked children on sledges, even glass banduras
    (musical instrument) were made. Later appeared space rockets, sputniks, cosmonauts. All these items
    had Soviet symbols on them.

There was a rare display of New Year's postcards from 1930 - 1950. Also, an interesting poster from the recent past, 1983: "Soviet People Are Greeting the New Happy Year!" On the bottom of the poster it reads: "People's mass festival, let's celebrate unanimously together" (a New Year poster uses the words from propaganda posters).

The name of the exhibition is "Mint Sweets of Childhood". Really there was a breath of something from the childhood. Nostalgia. Anticipation of a magic moment, a miracle.
APPLE CHEEKED PIONEERS AND OTHER CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS APPLE CHEEKED PIONEERS AND OTHER CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS
APPLE CHEEKED PIONEERS AND OTHER CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS APPLE CHEEKED PIONEERS AND OTHER CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS
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More than seventy percent of the exhibition items were from the ArtUkraine.com private collection.
Some items from the collection are for sale.
If you are interested please contact ArtUkraine@voliacable.com

 
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