Uzbekistan has bowed out of 2012 with a final “fingers up” to one of the best loved Soviet traditions, that of Father Frost (Дед Мороз or Father Christmas, reimagined for the Soviet New Year holiday) and Snow Maiden (Снегурочка – she has no European/American equivalent that I’m aware of). uznews.net has a remarkably critical article on the proposed government imposed change:
Father Frost, Snow Maiden renamed in Uzbekistan
The Uzbek Culture and Sport Ministry has recommended that all of the country’s theatres rename Father Frost to Star Magician and Snow Maiden to Star Fairy.Uzbekistan is trying to depart from traditions and images introduced during the Soviet period and changes being introduced in this connection have impacted New Year celebrations as well.
The country is going to see in the forthcoming year of 2013 without the usual Father Frost and Snow Maiden, but with new images which the Uzbek Culture and Sport Ministry started developing long before the holiday.
An actor from one of Tashkent’s theatres has said that the Culture and Sport Ministry on 12 November held a meeting with art managers of Tashkent’s theatres to discuss the New Year celebrations.
He recommended that art managers should develop images based on “American-European” New Year characters.
It is clear from the task’s context that Grandfather Frost and Snow Maiden, whom we have known since our childhood, must become absolutely new by appearance and content.
In the vision of culture officials, they can be heroes “approximate to Santa Claus” and its fairy assistant.
As a result of the meeting, it was decided to rename Father Frost as Star Magician, and Snow Maiden as Star Fairy.
The ministerial innovation, the actor said, made his whole company laugh.
“When we learnt about this innovation, we laughed for a long time at this nonsense and are still laughing,” he said.
However funny may it be, Uzbek theatre actors have nevertheless started playing the new New Year characters.