Eesti Elu
Post-war Christmas in occupied, post-war Estonia. Some observations Estonian Life (4)
Eestlased Kanadas 10 Dec 2016 EL (Estonian Life)Eesti Elu
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Laas Leivat
 - pics/2016/12/48840_001_t.jpg

In the early post-war years in Soviet occupied Estonia, the idea of Christmas was considered by the Communist party to be a capitalistic notion, tied in to a religious belief, therefore taboo. This is according to the recollections of an anonymous resident of Rakvere and later Nõmme.

This did not blend well with the Soviet creed and long before the Christmas season, the public was targeted with ideological messages, in which it was explained that Estonians’ forefathers never celebrated Christmas, but rather the arrival of the new year. It was contrary to the fact that all of Estonia’s literary classics mention Christmas as an indigenous, cultural tradition.

Attending Christmas church services was accompanied with a risk. Estonians have a reputation of having a casual, not a passionate relationship with religion. But during the Soviet, post-war period, participating at a Christmas service gave people a sense of protest, thus motivating many to attend, spurring even those who typically weren’t church-goers. For the ordinary citizen, the risk was minimal, but for those with some greater responsibility at work, being seen at church during Christmas might seriously affect one’s future. An anonymous tip to the authorities may have put the guilty individual on the “black list”. (Pikemalt Eesti Elu 9. dets. 2016 paberlehest)
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