Bolsheviks Attack Christmas

Marxist and Nazi totalitarian governments cannot abide a faith that challenges their ideological supremacy, so religion must be destroyed or controlled. In the young Soviet Union, the task of ridiculing religion was first put into the hands of the Communist youth league, the Komsomol.

On Orthodox Christmas Eve[1], January 6, 1923, activists launched the “Komsomol Christmas”. In the new capital city, Moscow, and across the Soviet Union, demonstrators held a series of parades with provocative and often obscene floats designed to denigrate religion. Clowns capered and sang the “Internationale”, a figure of God embraced a naked woman, Christmas trees were topped with red stars, staged trials judged Christianity, and mock priests and rabbis intoned lewd parodies of religious services. In a “Carnival of the Gods”, Christianity was linked to paganism and the Moscow parade ended with images of Buddha, Christ, Mohammed and Osiris all being burned on the bonfire. Komsomol youth went from house to house singing an parodic version of the Christmas Troparion hymn of the Orthodox Church.

Activists confronted believers emerging from church services, taunting them. In Odessa demonstrators burnt effigies of Moses and Jehovah in the main square. In Pskov, an orchestra was enlisted to entertain while militants buried “Counter-Revolution” and immolated the old gods. Anti-religious plays such as “The Liberation of Truth” were staged as were parodies of Orthodox rites where readings from scientific literature replaces the scriptures.

[1] In the Orthodox Church, Christmas is celebrated on December 25, but according to the Julian calendar; the Soviet state (and most of the rest of the world) followed the Gregorian calendar which in the twentieth century differed by thirteen days.

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