Trafalgar Square Tree Ceremony

By Rob Last edited 150 months ago
Trafalgar Square Tree Ceremony
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If you can't get up to Spitalfields tonight for the turning on of the Old Market lights with Gilbert & George, then don't forget that today is the day that the Norwegian Christmas tree is all lit up in Trafalgar Square.

According to Ken's website the traditional ceremony will take place at 6pm and will be attended by the Mayor of Oslo, Per Ditlev-Simonsen.

Before that though there is a 'pre-ceremony concert' with "bell ringing in the square to attract the public to the performance area", the Oslo Cathedral Boys Choir and "Platinum-selling Scandinavian artist Sissel".

Some quick tree facts:

  • The first tree was brought over in 1947 as a token of Norwegian appreciation of British friendship during the Second World War. To be honest they probably thought we'd have let them off the hook by now.
  • The tree is a Norwegian spruce (Picea abies) and is selected from the forests surrounding Oslo, where it is normally earmarked for Trafalgar Square several months, even years, in advance.
  • After it's chosen the tree is known as 'the queen of the forest'.
  • When the tree is cut down the Lord Mayor of Westminster travels to Olso for the ceremony.
  • In the Square the tree is left to stand as it would in the forest with the base of its trunk pushed four feet into the ground and secured with around a dozen wooden wedges. As far as we know it's never fallen over.
  • One fact we can't find: where do the lights themselves come from? Are they just kept in an old cardboard box in the loft at City Hall? Does Ken have to sit there and untangle them all in the days leading up the ceremony?

    Last Updated 29 November 2005