Look for it only in books, for it no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind” Prologue from “Gone with the Wind”
Greeting cards provide a window into our collective past; in this exhibition a set of greeting cards will take visitor on a historic tour of Russia which has faced many radical changes over the past decades: the Soviet red flag was replaced by the three-coloured Russian flag, International Labour day street meetings became a thing of the past, Revolution day is no longer marked red on Russian calendars, it is National Unity day that is celebrated instead. The country itself changed, and with it the need for celebrations changed – and so did greeting cards. Nowadays, greeting cards celebrating state holidays are no longer found in shops, in fact they are no longer in print. Just like anywhere else, in modern Russia holidays have lost their ideological significance and are seen instead as an opportunity to spend time with family and friends.
The exhibited Soviet cards are symbols of the past, recent yet so distant, messages of friendship from a country that disappeared from maps twenty-one years ago, soon after the fall of the Berlin wall. Addressed to many relatives, these cards became a real family treasure.
Traditions of New Year celebrations in Soviet Union changed with time. In the period between 1918-1935, 1st January was not considered important enough to be a state holiday; in fact it was an ordinary working day. Starting from 1936, New Year has become the most long-awaited and celebrated holiday of the year. New Year greeting cards started to appear in the 1950s, brining the joyful atmosphere associated with the holiday to every family. These cards were available in great variety, were truly on demand and found their way to each and everyone. Old New Year cards radiate the feel of sincere fervour, approaching adventures and winter magic. Often these cards would include elements which reflect major achievements of the Soviet state such as space missions and hosting Olympics games in Moscow.
In modern Russia, New Year traditionally remains the main winter holiday, unlike Western European countries where Christmas is the most popular holiday. New Year greeting cards did not lose their distinction, on the contrary, modern greeting cards can be found in an astounding diversity of designs and artworks. However, one must note that something has changed from the times of USSR: New Year greeting cards no longer depict national achievements or characters recognized by everybody.
This section presents cards printed between 1962 and 1987.