Following a tradition spanning nearly six decades, the lights of the Oslo Christmas Tree were lit at Austurvellur yesterday.
RÚV reports that Oslo deputy mayor Aud Kvalbein presented Reykjavík mayor Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir with the tree, and it was lit by eight-year-old Hrafnhildur Sif Ingólfsdóttir, herself half Icelandic and half Norwegian. Many were present at the lighting, with Norwegian ambassador to Iceland Margrit F. Tveiten giving the opening speech.
She said that the Oslo Tree has always been a gift of light and warmth to the Icelandic people, during the darkest days of the year. Last year, however, the tree found a new role, when it was taken down and ignited by protesters in front of parliament. Tveitin said that Norwegians didn’t take this personally, but she hoped that this wouldn’t become a new trend.
Oslo residents have been sending a tree to Reykjavík for the past 58 years.