Tajikistan bans Santa Claus and Snow Maiden

Tajikistan TV viewers will see neither Santa Claus nor Snow Maiden over the New Year holidays.

"These folklore characters and attributes of the holidays, in particular Christmas tree, are not directly related to our national traditions, though there is nothing wrong with them,” said Saidali Siddikov the first deputy head of the Broadcasting Committee.

According to Siddikov, Christmas TV programs will show winter landscapes of the republic, concerts, songs, dances and festive table of the locals, “naturally, without alcohol”.

In recent years Tajikistan population, 98% percent of which identify themselves as Muslims, holds a tense debate between supporters and opponents of the New Year celebration. Several authoritative Muslim clerics and Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan oppose this holiday as it is “alien to the Islamic world”. Their opponents, in turn, refer to the secular nature of the republic.

On the night of January 1, 2012, a 24-year-old local man dressed up as Santa Claus was killed in Dushanbe, the capital of the country. According to one version, he was attacked by a crowd of religious fanatics. The Interior Ministry, however, stated that the crime was due to domestic violence.

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