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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 24, 1970, Lethbridge, Alberta 4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Thursday, December 24, BILLIONS of families s a t spellbound in front of tlioir radios on Christinas Day as airline captain flying to Brilian de- scribed how liis pas- sengers were at that moment enjoying their Christmas din- ner almost three miles above tho Atlantic ocean. That was in IWfi and the air travellers on the BOAC flying work (lav in a By MICHAEL JOHNSON Associated Press Writer 0 S C 0 W, U.S.S.R. (AP) Christmas in Moscow is just aii- other working day but the gaily decor- ated streets and the holiday mood make it seem almost as cheerful as Christmas in the west. The Kremlin calendar takes no note of Christ's birthday, and Russians who want to cele- brate it must organize their festivities outside of working Lours. Thousands of Soviet Baptists, Catholics, and other Christians still observe Dec, 25 as Christ- mas quietly in their homes and in their churches. Officially, however. Christ- mas doesn't exist. The occasion seems festive nevertheless because official Mowcow is getting ready for the New Year's observance, the Communist substitute for Christmas. Big, fattening din- ners, gift exchanges and monu- mental drinking bouts are typ- ical features of the New Year parties. Moscow builds up to the event through most of Decem- ber. The streets are hung with colored lights and candy canes almost identical to the tradi- tional trappings of the holiday as celebrated in the United States. The passing visitor would hardly notice the difference in atmosphere between commu- nist-atheist Moscow and the capitalist Christian West at this time of year. The department stores do a booming business here for the entire month of December, as housewives search the city for something original in the way of gifts. Word of a new ship- ment from a toy factory or clothing warehouse spreads like lightning. The crowds scramble with special energy to buy up imported toys from England, West Germany and other countries. As the housewives do their shopping, the youngsters visit frith "Dad the beard- ed, rotund Siavic version of Santa Clans again a close cousin to the American Santa. The major department stores feature Ded Moroz on a throne. And for a nominal fee, Ded Moroz will show up at the buy- er's home in full costume to de- liver the packages. Russian children are brought up believing in Santa Claus but not in Christ. The Kremlin has succeeded in keeping Christ out of Christ- mas. Only on the unofficial level does the holiday retain its religious significance. The Russian Orthodox church, by far the largest Rus- sian religious grouping, holds an elaborate and moving Christmas Eve service Jan. 6, still observing the oid church calendar which is 13 days be- hind the official calendar. Some orthodox families ex- change gifts a second time on this religious holiday, although it also is day. a normal working boat were among those that could be numbered in hundreds who were enjoying the tradi tional meal in the air. Today the numbers tot il thousands. They fly higher and faster, but the Christmas menu is virtually unchanged. As many as Christinas meals will be served in BOAC jets around the world this Christmas. 'Tradiuonaliy it is