Trident, national colors and increased security: what will be the main Christmas tree of the country in wartime
Against the background of a full-scale war in Ukraine, a decision was made to arrange the country's main Christmas tree on Sofia Square in Kyiv. This decision was given to the capital authorities not easily, as many opposed the installation of a holiday tree in such a difficult period for Ukraine. But with the approach of the New Year's holidays, the dilemma still arose. In an interview with Visit Ukraine, Ihor Dobrutskyi, the author and president of the "Folk Ukraine" project, which organizes the festivities on Sofia Square, told what difficulties the organizers faced and what kind of Christmas tree to expect for Ukrainians this year.
- Installing the Christmas tree this year is much more difficult than usual. How is the preparation for the installation of the Christmas tree and other New Year's decorations on Sofia Square? How long does it take to prepare for war and peacetime?
This year, the Christmas tree on Sofia Square will be much smaller in size - 12 m. Therefore, installation work will be carried out for approximately 3-4 days. Regarding the preparation of decorations and some elements, we have some of them, and some of them we purchase from partners. By the way, I want to emphasize that our manufacturers have adapted to difficult conditions quite quickly. There are some delays in the production process, but they are not significant.
- What difficulties arose this year during the planning of the main Christmas tree?
The most difficult thing was to decide whether a Christmas tree is needed at all this year, in what format, etc. In my opinion, the city administration made the most rational decision: to install a Christmas tree with a balanced design. We must not give up our traditions and values to please the invaders. But we treat with respect all those to whom the war caused the greatest pain and loss.
- Will the Christmas tree be lit with the help of generators sent to us by our allies? Is there a separate budget for these generators?
Yes, thanks to our partners from the Netherlands, De Leeuw Kyiv, the Christmas tree will be lit by a generator that will be handed over to us for a while, and then it will go to serve our defenders on the front lines. De Leeuw Kyiv has already handed over several trucks with generator sets that serve hospitals, water utilities and the population of Ukraine in various cities. At the same time, I will note that the Christmas tree will be decorated with a small number of garlands and will be lit according to the schedule determined by the administration. I think it will be a few hours in the evening.
– Apart from the central Christmas tree on Sofia Square, are there any other New Year's locations planned in Kyiv? For example, Contract Square, the Arch of Freedom of the Ukrainian People, etc.
As for other locations, it probably won't. But I gladly invite everyone to visit the Kyiv History Museum. There we installed a Christmas tree of indomitability - a smaller copy of the one we planned to install on Sofia Square. In the middle of the museum, you will see a large installation of a shop with a grandfather, carolers, angels and its main part - the birth of Jesus Christ.
We gave the Christmas tree and shopka (Christmas nativity scene - ed.) as a gift to the museum.
- The main features, how will the New Year tree differ from the previous ones?
As he said, it's the size. And the theme, of course, this year the Christmas tree will be decorated with blue and yellow toys and white angels of the world. The coat of arms of Ukraine crowns the top of the Christmas tree.
Ihor Dobrutsky showed Visit Ukraine the concept of the location of the main Christmas tree of Ukraine. However, in this form, the festive tree was not solidified due to its high energy consumption.
This is what the Christmas tree looked like on New Year's Eve - 2022, when the free people of Ukraine did not even think about the vile attack of Putin's invaders:
- Unfortunately, the enemy continues to shell Ukrainian infrastructure. How will New Year's locations work during air raids?
The location with the Christmas tree will not be different from any other in the city. No "magnets" will be installed near the Christmas tree, which would encourage them to stay on the square for a long time. And during an alarm, I think everyone already knows that it is necessary to immediately go to the shelter. In the case of Sofia Square, it is the Golden Gate Metro and Independence Square.
- Could this year's holiday locations be the target of the occupiers or the sabotage and intelligence group? Against the background of such a threat, is it planned to increase protection or involve the military, law enforcement officers?
As the shelling statistics have shown, targets are often unpredictable, so it is difficult to make any predictions. I know for sure that the protection of the police and other responsible services will be strengthened.
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