Friday, December 26, 2008
A touch of Christmas
Each year since 1947, a Christmas tree has been given to the people of London from the people of Norway in gratitude for Britain's support for Norway during World War II. The tree is usually a Norwegian spruce (Picea abies) 21 metres (70ft) high and 50-60 years old. It is selected from the forests surrounding Oslo several months in advance.
The tree is felled in November during a ceremony in which the Lord Mayor of Westminster, the British ambassador to Norway and the Mayor of Oslo participate. It is brought to the UK by sea, then completes its journey by lorry. A specialist rigging team erects it in Trafalgar Square in the centre of London, using a hydraulic crane. It is decorated in traditional Norwegian fashion, with vertical strings of lights, using energy-efficient bulbs.