New Year's Trees: They're Like Christmas Trees But Russian

A festively decorated tree in Moscow. (Photo by Vladimir Smirnov\TASS via Getty Images)

Toys. Lights. Family and friends gathered around a stunningly decorated evergreen tree. This might sound like a familiar Christmas scene---after all, that's how Christmas is celebrated in the West---but in Russia, family and friends gather around the tree on New Year's Eve. It's not because they've kept their Christmas trees up later than would otherwise be considered socially acceptable; a major part of the Russian New Year's Eve celebration is the yolka, or New Year's tree. Let's look at how the Russian Revolution killed the Christmas tree and gave rise to the yolka