A big Bah-Humbug to the City of Oslo, Norway for ending a 60-year tradition of giving a tall Christmas tree to the city of Reykjavík in Iceland. Claiming it to be too expense and not-so-environmentally friendly the Oslo City Council points out that Iceland has grown so much in the past years that they finally have their own pine trees large enough to use as a Christmas tree.
Every year since 1952, the City of Oslo, Norway has presented Reykjavik City with a huge Christmas tree for the festive period. The tree is always placed in the heart of downtown Reykjavik, and is ceremoniously lit every year on the first Sunday of the advent. Families gather to sing Christmas carols and join in the festivities, and a few Yule Lads usually make an appearance.
The Austurvöllur Christmas tree is decorated with hundreds of individual white lights. The tree itself is traditionally 12 – 16 meters tall and the sight of it decorated in white light has become an iconic Reykjavík Christmas image.
The festivities start with The Reykjavík Brass Band playing popular Christmas tunes. Before a representative of the city of Oslo formally gives the tree to the people of Reykjavík the Choir of the Reykjavík Cathedral sings Christmas carols and hymns. The lighting ceremony is traditionally attended by the Mayor of Reykjavík, formally announcing the arrival of the tree from the forests surrounding Oslo.
Oslo has long been a giver of trees, carrying on similar traditions with the cities of Rotterdam and London. Rotterdam was notified that their tree will not be arriving this year either. But, for whatever reason, Oslo will continue sending a tree to London.