(QHA) - Authorities in Tajikistan have forbidden Santa Claus – or Father Frost, as he’s known in the Russian-speaking tradition – from appearing on television this holiday season, Islam.ru portal informs.
Last year arch-rival Uzbekistan, presided over by President Islam Karimov, banned the Father Frost from New Year’s broadcasts in efforts to shield Uzbeks from foreign influences and invent a unique Uzbek “culture.”
New Year’s remains one of the most popular holidays throughout the former Soviet Union, celebrated with family meals and fireworks. The robed Father Frost (“Ded Moroz”) brings children gifts, much as Santa Claus does on Christmas Day in the West. But the New Year’s holiday is entirely secular.
The new ban in Tajikistan applies to Father Frost, his maiden sidekick Snegurochka, and Christmas trees, Radio Ozodi reported.
In recent years, some Islamic clergy have complained that the New Year holiday, with its Christian undertones, is not appropriate for a Muslim country like Tajikistan.