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The World Tree Decorating Ceremony in the General Staff Building

Published 04 December 2022

On 3 December 2022, during the Hermitage Days, for the first time a World Tree installed in the Atrium of the General Staff building was decked out in a festive ceremony with the best seasonal decorations. Those had been created in the years 2017–21 by people from a whole range of countries as entries for the international “Create an Exhibit for the Hermitage” competition.

Both children and adults participated in the ceremony – representatives of foreign states in Saint Petersburg: the Republic of Azerbaijan, Republic of Armenian, Chinese People’s Republic, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Republic of El Salvador, Republic of Djibouti, Republic of Uzbekistan, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Turkey and Japan, the Secretariat of the Council of the Interparliamentary Assembly of the CIS Member Nations, and guests from Russia.

Those attending were greeted by Yekaterina Sirakanian, head of the State Hermitage’s Development Service, and Yury Berestov, general producer of the “Create an Exhibit for the Hermitage” competition.

During the event, a master class in making tree decorations was arranged for the children, while the adults were given a guided tour of the halls of the General Staff building. The youngsters then handed over their creations to become entries in this year’s “Create an Exhibit for the Hermitage” competition.

The competition organized by the State Hermitage in conjunction with the company Aira is being held in the museum for the sixth time. Over past years, more than 3,000 people from various parts of the world – from Latin America to South-East Asia – have taken part in it. In 2021 the entrants produced tree decorations on the theme of “Bridges of Culture”. Previous competitions have been devoted to the themes of Good and Evil, the Year of Ballet, the Year of Theatre and favourite Hermitage exhibits.

The best works entered for the “Create an Exhibit for the Hermitage” competition over the past years are now displayed on the World Tree. The young participants in the gathering helped to hang decorations on the lower branches of the seven-metre fir tree. The culminating moment of the occasion came when the lights were switched on.

Throughout the New Year holiday period anyone visiting the General Staff building will be able to see and photograph the World Tree.

The closing date for entries to this year’s “Create an Exhibit for the Hermitage” competition is 7 December 2022.

The theme of the competition in 2022 is “Cherishing Traditions”. Entrants are invited to create tree decorations that introduce people to the traditions of the various peoples of Russia or of any other country, city or region of their choice. The competition is being held with the support of Saint Petersburg’s Committee for External Relations.

To find out the detailed rules for participating in the competition, visit this page of the museum website.