Photo: Jørn TomterThis year's Norwegian Christmas tree at Trafalgar Square is the 64th given since 1947. Photo: Jørn Tomter

The lights are on!

The Norwegian Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, a gift to London from the City of Oslo, was lit in a special, snow-covered ceremony attended by thousands of people on 2 December.

10 December: You may have heard that the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree, which is an annual gift from the City of Oslo to the people of London as a symbol of peace and appreciation for British support of occupied Norway during the Second World War, was damaged during demonstrations in London yesterday evening.

We have been kept up-to-date by the Westminster City Council, and been advised that the tree is being restored today, and it is hoped that it will be ready this evening for visitors to Trafalgar Square to enjoy once again.

We are pleased that the tree is being restored so that it can once more be enjoyed by visitors to Trafalgar Square, and we would like to wish all Londoners a happy and peaceful Christmas.

Ambassador Kim Traavik
Royal Norwegian Embassy, London

Every December since 1947, a Norwegian Christmas tree has been an eye-catching feature in London's Trafalgar Square. This year's tree was lit in a ceremony attended by the Governing Mayor of Oslo, Stian Berger Røsland, and the Norwegian Ambassador, Kim Traavik.

Also joining the ceremony was the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Cllr Judith Warner, and award-winning classical music star Alfie Boe who has Norwegian relatives.

Earlier, opera tenor Boe, who performed at the evening’s ceremony, said:  "I am delighted to be joining Westminster residents and visitors to mark the start of the festive season.  This ceremony is particularly poignant for me as my great grandfather was Norwegian."

Cllr Warner added: “I would like to thank the people of Oslo for this splendid tree, a tradition which I know has come to represent the start of the Christmas season for many people across London.

“Christmas is a great time to reflect on the year that has gone past while looking towards to the new and I am delighted to be able to join local residents and visitors at such a special time.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, added: “Steeped in wonderful history and tradition, the annual lighting of the mighty Trafalgar Square Christmas tree is a glittering indication that the festive season is well and truly under way.

“There can be no better city than London in which to soak up the Christmas cheer, with carol singing, ice skating and fantastic light displays as the backdrop to the best gift shopping experience on the planet.”

The 20-metre tree was selected from a forest near Oslo in November and was then shipped across the North Sea. It has been decorated in a traditional Norwegian style with 500 white lights using halogen bulbs. They will remain lit until Tuesday 5 January 2011, after which the tree will be recycled.

The ceremony included music, speeches, carol singing, as well as a poetry recital by local Westminster schoolchildren from Our Lady of Dolours RC Primary School. The schoolchildren read out John Agard’s poem ‘Green Magi,’ which was inspired by the writing of London schoolchildren who participated in a special project organised by the Poetry Society.

On 23 November, the Mayor of Oslo, Fabian Stang, and the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Judith Warner, got some help from a couple of little friends to chop down the Christmas tree in the forest outside Oslo. Photo: Erlend Aas/SCANPIX

To see more photos of the Christmas tree, visit the Embassy's Facebook page. 

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