#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Fantasy before the New Year meeting was limited only by improvised materials. Colored ribbons, cotton wool, wire, old newspapers, colored light bulbs, even tin cans from which birds and animals were carved were used.
Here is how one of the first Norilsk women Zoya Nardina recalled that time:
“I remember meeting the New Year, 1937 in Norilsk. I was nine years old, and I went to the second grade of the small one-story school in the Old City. The Christmas tree was real, and the toys were homemade. We cut them out of paper.
No Christmas costumes. We were wearing white blouses and black sundresses with straps. All in pioneer ties. Masks were put on the face and tied with a string. The teachers played the harmonica and balalaika. And we danced near the Christmas tree and played. For participation in the games, Father Frost handed out sweets – punch caramel, the so-called pads, without a wrapper, and small rubber dolls”.
But by the end of the 1940s, Norilsk had its own New Year’s industry: every December, several enterprises at once were temporarily retrained as Father Frost’s workshops.
The furniture shop of the building parts plant completed Christmas decorations sets, the electrical shop made garlands, glass balls were blown and painted at the brick and block plant, and crown stars and glass snow were made in the chemical laboratory.
Every year, specialists from the subsidiary farms department cut down and brought for sale to the population a thousand spruces and larches that grew in the vicinity of Norilsk.
In the early 1950s, Christmas trees for children were set up in three Norilsk schools, in the villages of Valyok and Cherez, as well as at remote peripheral points: the open-pit mine, the 3/6 mine, in Kayerkan and Nadezhda, together with the village of Zapadny.
Holidays for adults were held in a technical school, in the famous House of Engineering and Technical Workers, in the Trade Union Club, and the main masquerade ball for young people was held in the large gym.
In the History Spot’s previous publication, we told that the first public New Year tree in Norilsk was placed at the Zero Point.
Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive